The Pipeline embolization device (PED) has become a valuable tool in the treatment of cerebral aneurysms. Although failures with PED treatment have been reported, the characteristics and course of these aneurysms remain a topic of uncertainty.
Electronic medical records and imaging studies were reviewed for all patients treated with the PED between July 2010 and March 2015 to identify characteristics of patients and aneurysms with residual filling after PED treatment.
Of 316 cases treated at a single institution, 281 patients had a long-term follow-up. A total of 52 (16.4%) aneurysms with residual filling were identified and constituted the study population. The mean patient age in this population was 58.8 years. The mean aneurysm size was 10.1 mm ± 7.15 mm. Twelve aneurysms were fusiform (23%). Of the aneurysms with residual filling, there were 20 carotid ophthalmic (CO) aneurysms (20% of all CO aneurysms treated), 10 other paraclinoid aneurysms (16.4% of all paraclinoid aneurysms), 7 posterior communicating artery (PCoA) aneurysms (21.9% of all PCoA aneurysms), 7 cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms (14.9% of all cavernous ICA aneurysms), 4 vertebrobasilar (VB) junction aneurysms (14.8% of all VB junction aneurysms), and 3 middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms (25% of all MCA aneurysms). Eleven patients underwent placement of more than one PED (21.2%), with a mean number of devices of 1.28 per case. Eight of 12 aneurysms were previously treated with a stent (15.4%). Nineteen patients underwent re-treatment (36.5%); the 33 patients who did not undergo re-treatment (63.5%) were monitored by angiography or noninvasive imaging. In multivariate analysis, age older than 65 years (OR 2.65, 95% CI 1.33–5.28; p = 0.05), prior stent placement across the target aneurysm (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.15–7.51; p = 0.02), aneurysm location in the distal anterior circulation (MCA, PCoA, and anterior choroidal artery: OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.19–6.18; p = 0.017), and longer follow-up duration (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03–1.09; p < 0.001) were associated with incomplete aneurysm occlusion.
While the PED can allow for treatment of large, broad-necked aneurysms with high efficacy, treatment failures do occur (16.4%). Aneurysm size, shape, and previous treatment may influence treatment outcome.