Dissecting aneurysms of the vertebral artery: a management strategy

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Object. The authors present a retrospective analysis of their experience in the treatment of vertebral artery (VA) dissecting aneurysms and propose a management strategy for such aneurysms, with special emphasis on the most formidable VA dissecting aneurysms, which involve the origin of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA).

Methods. Since 1998, 18 patients with VA dissecting aneurysms, 11 of whom presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), have been treated by endovascular surgery at the authors' institution. Obliteration of the entire segment of the dissected site with coils (internal trapping) was performed for aneurysms without involvement of the origin of the PICA (12 cases; among these the treatment-related morbidity rate was 16.7%). The treatment strategy applied to PICA-involved VA dissecting aneurysms presenting with SAH (three cases) included proximal occlusion of the parent artery followed by internal trapping of the aneurysm (one case), proximal occlusion of the parent artery followed by occipital artery (OA)—PICA bypass (one case), and two-staged internal trapping of the aneurysm involving double PICAs (one case). For PICA-involved VA dissecting aneurysms that were not associated with SAH at presentation (three cases), OA—PICA bypass was performed and followed by internal trapping of the aneurysm (two cases). In the remaining case in which a fetal-type posterior communicating artery was present, internal trapping was performed following successful balloon test occlusion (BTO). Overall, there was no sign of infarction in the PICA territory, despite complete occlusion of aneurysms involving the PICA. There was no recurrent bleeding or ischemic symptoms during the follow-up periods. The overall treatment-related morbidity rate for the VA dissecting aneurysms involving the PICA was 16.7%.

Conclusions. Dissecting VA aneurysms that do not involve the PICA can be safely treated by internal trapping. For those lesions that do involve the PICA, a decision-making algorithm is advocated to maximize the efficacy of the treatment as well as to minimize the risks of treatment-related morbidity based on BTO.

Article Information

Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Koji Iihara, M.D., Department of Cerebrovascular Surgery, National Cardiovascular Center, 5–7–1, Fujishiro-dai, Suita, Osaka, 565–8565, Japan. email: kiihara@hsp.ncvc.go.jp.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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