The authors sought to determine whether flow diversion with the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) can approximate microsurgical decompression in restoring function after cranial neuropathy following carotid artery aneurysms.
This multiinstitutional retrospective study involved 45 patients treated with PED across the United States. All patients included presented between November 2009 and October 2013 with cranial neuropathy (cranial nerves [CNs] II, III, IV, and VI) due to intracranial aneurysm. Outcome analysis included clinical and procedural variables at the time of treatment as well as at the latest clinical and radiographic follow-up.
Twenty-six aneurysms (57.8%) were located in the cavernous segment, while 6 (13.3%) were in the clinoid segment, and 13 (28.9%) were in the ophthalmic segment of the internal carotid artery. The average aneurysm size was 18.6 mm (range 4–35 mm), and the average number of flow diverters placed per patient was 1.2. Thirty-eight patients had available information regarding duration of cranial neuropathy prior to treatment. Eleven patients (28.9%) were treated within 1 month of symptom onset, while 27 (71.1%) were treated after 1 month of symptoms. The overall rate of cranial neuropathy improvement for all patients was 66.7%. The CN deficits resolved in 19 patients (42.2%), improved in 11 (24.4%), were unchanged in 14 (31.1%), and worsened in 1 (2.2%). Overtime, the rate of cranial neuropathy improvement was 33.3% (15/45), 68.8% (22/32), and 81.0% (17/21) at less than 6, 6, and 12 months, respectively. At last follow-up, 60% of patients in the isolated CN II group had improvement, while in the CN III, IV, or VI group, 85.7% had improved. Moreover, 100% (11/11) of patients experienced improvement if they were treated within 1 month of symptom onset, whereas 44.4% (12/27) experienced improvement if they treated after 1 month of symptom onset; 70.4% (19/27) of those with partial deficits improved compared with 30% (3/10) of those with complete deficits.
Cranial neuropathy caused by cerebral aneurysm responds similarly when the aneurysm is treated with the PED compared with open surgery and coil embolization. Lower morbidity and higher occlusion rates obtained with the PED may suggest it as treatment of choice for some of these lesions. Time to treatment is an important consideration regardless of treatment modality.