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Electrothrombosis of saccular aneurysms via endovascular approach

Part 1: Electrochemical basis, technique, and experimental results

Guido Guglielmi, Fernando Viñuela, Ivan Sepetka, and Velio Macellari

✓ Eleven experimental saccular aneurysms were created on the common carotid artery of swine. Between 3 and 15 days after creation of these aneurysms, they were thrombosed via an endovascular approach, using a very soft detachable platinum coil delivered through a microcatheter positioned within the aneurysm. This detachable platinum coil was soldered to a stainless steel delivery guidewire. Intra-aneurysmal thrombosis was then initiated by applying a low positive direct electric current to the delivery guidewire. Thrombosis occurred because of the attraction of negatively charged white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and fibrinogen to the positively charged platinum coil positioned within the aneurysm. The passage of electric current detached the platinum coil within the clotted aneurysm in 4 to 12 minutes. This detachment was elicited by electrolysis of the stainless steel wire nearest to the thrombus-covered platinum coil. Control angiograms obtained 2 to 6 months postembolization confirmed permanent aneurysm occlusion as well as patency of the parent artery in all cases. No angiographic manifestation of untoward distal embolization was noted. Due to the encouraging results of this research, this technique has been applied in selected clinical cases which are described in Part 2 of this study.

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Guido Guglielmi, Fernando Viñuela, Jacques Dion, and Gary Duckwiler

✓ Fifteen patients with high-risk intracranial saccular aneurysms were treated using electrolytically detachable coils introduced via an endovascular approach. The patients ranged in age from 21 to 69 years. The most frequent clinical presentation was subarachnoid hemorrhage (eight cases). Considerable thrombosis of the aneurysm (70% to 100%) was achieved in all 15 patients, and preservation of the parent artery was obtained in 14. Although temporary neurological deterioration due to the technique was recorded in one patient, no permanent neurological deficit was observed in this series and there were no deaths. It is believed that this new technology is a viable alternative in the management of patients with high-risk intracranial saccular aneurysms. It may also play an important role in the occlusion of aneurysms in the acute phase of subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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Yuichi Murayama, Fernando Viñuela, Gary R. Duckwiler, Y. Pierre Gobin, and Guido Guglielmi

Guglielmi detachable coil (GDC) technology is a valuable therapeutic alternative to the surgical treatment of ruptured or incidental intracranial aneurysms. The authors describe their technical and clinical experience in the utilization of the GDC technique in patients who underwent endovascular occlusion for the treatment of incidentally found intracranial aneurysms.

One hundred fifteen patients with 120 incidentally found intracranial aneurysms underwent embolization using the GDC endovascular technique. Ninety-one patients were female and 24 were male. Patient age ranged from 13 to 80 years. In 64 patients the incidental aneurysms were discovered when unrelated nonneurological conditions indicated the need for angiography or magnetic resonance angiography (Group 1). Twenty patients who presented with incidental aneurysms that were discovered during treatment for an acutely ruptured aneurysm were treated in the acute phase of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) (Group 2). Sixteen patients with incidental aneurysms were treated during the chronic phase of SAH (Group 3). Group 4 included 15 patients who had incidental aneurysms associated with brain tumors or arteriovenous malformations.

Angiographic results showed complete or near complete occlusion in 109 aneurysms (91%) and incomplete occlusion in five aneurysms (4%). Unsuccessful GDC embolization was attempted in six aneurysms (5%). One hundred nine patients (94.8%) remained neurologically intact or unchanged from initial clinical status. Five patients (4.3%) deteriorated due to immediate procedural complications (overall immediate morbidity rate). All of these complications occurred in the first 50 patients treated earlier in this series. No clinical complications were observed in the last 65 patients. Follow-up cerebral angiograms were obtained in 77 patients with 79 aneurysms. The median clinical follow-up period was 16.3 months.

No recanalization was observed in the 52 completely occluded aneurysms. Of the 22 aneurysms with small neck remnants, eight (36%) showed further thrombosis, 7 (32%) remained anatomically unchanged, and seven (32%) showed recanalization due to compaction of the coils. In one patient, a partially embolized aneurysm ruptured 3 years postembolization. In Groups 1 and 3, the average length of hospitalization was 3.3 days.

The evolution of the GDC technology has proved to provide safe treatment of incidental aneurysms (a morbidity rate of 0% was achieved in the last 65 patients). The topography of the aneurysm and the clinical condition of the patient did not influence final anatomical or clinical outcomes. The GDC technology also confers a positive economical impact by decreasing hospital length of stay and by eliminating the need for postembolization intensive care unit care.

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Yuichi Murayama, Fernando Viñuela, Gary R. Duckwiler, Y. Pierre Gobin, and Guido Guglielmi

Object. Guglielmi detachable coil (GDC) technology is a valuable therapeutic alternative to the surgical treatment of ruptured or incidental intracranial aneurysms. The authors describe their technical and clinical experience in the use of the GDC technique in patients who underwent endovascular occlusion for the treatment of incidentally found intracranial aneurysms.

Methods. One hundred fifteen patients with 120 incidentally found intracranial aneurysms underwent embolization by means of the GDC endovascular technique. Ninety-one patients were females and 24 were males. Patient age ranged from 13 to 80 years. In 64 patients the incidental aneurysms were discovered when unrelated nonneurological conditions signaled the need for angiography or magnetic resonance angiography (Group 1). Twenty patients who presented with incidental aneurysms that were discovered during treatment for an acutely ruptured aneurysm underwent treatment of both types of aneurysm during the acute phase of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) (Group 2). Sixteen patients with incidental aneurysms were treated during the chronic phase of SAH (Group 3). Group 4 included 15 patients who had incidental aneurysms associated with brain tumors or arteriovenous malformations.

Angiographic results revealed complete or near-complete occlusion in 109 aneurysms (91%) and incomplete occlusion in five aneurysms (4%). Guglielmi detachable coil embolization was attempted unsuccessfully in six aneurysms (5%). One hundred nine patients (94.8%) remained neurologically intact or unchanged from their initial clinical status. Five patients (4.3%) deteriorated as a result of immediate procedural complications. All these complications occurred in the first 50 patients treated in the series. No clinical complications were observed in the last 65 patients. In one patient, a partially embolized aneurysm ruptured 3 years postprocedure. In Groups 1 and 3, the average length of hospitalization was 3.3 days.

Conclusions. The evolution of GDC technology has proved to provide safe treatment of incidental aneurysms (a morbidity rate of 0% was achieved in the last 65 patients). The topography of the aneurysm and the clinical condition of the patient did not influence final anatomical or clinical outcomes. The GDC technology also confers a positive economic impact by decreasing hospital length of stay and by eliminating the need for postembolization intensive care.

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John H. Gurian, Neil A. Martin, Wesley A. King, Gary R. Duckwiler, Guido Guglielmi, and Fernando Viñuela

✓ Modern endovascular techniques permit treatment of intracranial aneurysms in many circumstances when surgery is associated with significant morbidity. Occasionally, embolization of aneurysms is unsuccessful or incomplete or followed by complications, in which case surgical management is required. Since 1986, 196 patients have undergone embolization of intracranial aneurysms at the authors' institution and 21 (11%) required subsequent surgical treatment. Attempted embolization failed in five patients (Group A). Ten patients (Group B) had only partial occlusion of the aneurysm or demonstrated recanalization on follow-up studies. Eight of these Group B patients underwent embolization with Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs), representing 5.7% of the 141 GDC-treated patients in this experience. Surgical treatment in these two groups consisted of clipping (eight cases), surgical parent vessel occlusion (one case), and parent vessel occlusion with extracranial—intracranial bypass (six cases). Fourteen (93%) of the 15 patients in these two groups had an excellent or good outcome with complete aneurysm occlusion. Six patients underwent surgery to treat complications related to the endovascular procedure (Group C). Of these, four patients had neurological improvement compared to their preoperative state, and two died. This series of cases demonstrates that surgical treatment of aneurysms is usually possible with good results following incomplete embolization and emphasizes the need for close and continued neurosurgical involvement in the endovascular management of intracranial aneurysms.

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Motoharu Hayakawa, Yuichi Murayama, Gary R. Duckwiler, Y. Pierre Gobin, Guido Guglielmi, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. The long-term durability of Guglielmi detachable coil (GDC) embolization of cerebral aneurysms is still unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the anatomical evolution of neck remnants in aneurysms treated with GDCs.

Methods. Of 455 aneurysms treated with GDCs from 1990 to 1998 at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, 178 aneurysms (39%) had residual necks postembolization. Long-term follow-up angiograms were obtained in 73 of these aneurysms in 71 patients. The mean duration of angiographic follow up was 17.3 months. Twenty-four of the aneurysms were small with small necks, 24 were small with wide necks, 15 were large, and 10 were giant aneurysms.

In small aneurysms with small necks, postembolization angiography revealed 12 aneurysms (50%) with progressive thrombosis, eight (33%) unchanged, and four (17%) with recanalization. In small aneurysms with wide necks, six (25%) had progressive thrombosis, eight (33%) remained unchanged, and 10 (42%) had recanalization. In large aneurysms, two (13%) were unchanged and 13 (87%) had recanalization. Of the giant aneurysms only one (10%) remained unchanged and nine (90%) had recanalization. Overall, 18 aneurysms (25%) exhibited progressive thrombosis, 19 (26%) remained unchanged, and 36 (49%) displayed recanalization on follow-up angiography. During the last 2 years of the study, the recanalization rate decreased and a higher rate of progressive thrombosis was noted in aneurysms with small necks. These positive changes are related to important new technical developments.

Conclusions. Treatment with GDCs appears to be effective and the results permanent in most small aneurysms with small necks. However, there are important technical limitations in the current GDC technology that prevent recanalization in wide-necked or large or giant aneurysms.

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Pedro Lylyk, Fernando Viñuela, Jacques E. Dion, Gary Duckwiler, Guido Guglielmi, Warwick Peacock, and Neil Martin

✓ From September, 1986, to March, 1990, the authors treated 28 children harboring a vein of Galen vascular malformation. Eleven (39.3%) of the patients were neonates, 13 (46.4%) were 1 to 2 years old, and four (14.3%) were more than 2 years old.

Fifteen patients (53.6%) presented with severe congestive heart failure, six (21.4%) had seizures, four (14.3%) had hydrocephalus, and three (10.7%) presented with intraventricular hemorrhage. Based on the Yaşargil classification of malformations, 10 lesions (35.7%) were Type I, seven (25%) were Type II, eight (28.6%) were Type III, and three (10.7%) were Type IV. In 11 patients (39.3%), a combined transfemoral, transarterial, and transvenous embolization of the vein of Galen malformation was performed. A pure transtorcular approach was utilized in eight patients (28.6%), and postembolization surgical clipping of arterial feeders was performed in two cases with intractable congestive heart failure.

Complete anatomical occlusion of the galenic malformation was achieved in 13 patients (46.4%). An immediate postembolization improvement in the patient's clinical status was obtained in 23 (82.1%) of 28 patients and a good long-term clinical outcome was seen in 17 patients (60.7%). Five deaths (17.9%) occurred in this series of 28 patients; three (10.7%) were related to a transtorcular embolization and two (7.1%) to the unchanged natural history of the disease.

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Tim W. Malisch, Guido Guglielmi, Fernando Viñuela, Gary Duckwiler, Y. Pierre Gobin, Neil A. Martin, and John G. Frazee

✓ A prospective study was designed to evaluate clinical outcome in a series of 100 consecutively treated patients who underwent endovascular embolization of 104 intracranial aneurysms using Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs). Midterm clinical outcome (2–6 years, average 3.5 years) was obtained for 94 patients and was classified according to a modified Glasgow Outcome Scale.

Of nine patients treated in the acute phase of severe subarachnoid hemorrhage (Grade IV or V), seven died from the initial hemorrhage, one had a poor outcome, and one had a fair midterm outcome, with no post-GDC embolization hemorrhages.

Twenty patients underwent subsequent surgical or endovascular procedures that did not include the use of GDCs. These included aneurysm clipping in nine patients and parent vessel sacrifice in 11 patients. None of these 20 patients experienced post-GDC embolization hemorrhage. The postoperative midterm clinical outcomes of these 20 patients did not significantly differ from the outcomes of patients who underwent GDC embolization as their definitive treatment.

Six patients died of unrelated causes prior to reaching the 2-year survival point, with no post-GDC embolization hemorrhage. The midterm outcomes of the remaining 61 patients who underwent GDC embolization as their definitive treatment were classified as excellent (46 patients [75%]), good (seven patients [11%]), fair (three patients [5%]), poor (one patient [2%]), or dead (four patients [7%]). All four patients died from giant lesions. At midterm follow up, the surviving 57 patients' neurological statuses were unchanged or improved in 54 cases and worsened in three cases. The midterm post-GDC embolization hemorrhage rate was 0% for small aneurysms, 4% (one case) for large aneurysms, and 33% (five cases) for giant lesions.

The GDC procedure is a safe, effective, and reliable means of preventing aneurysm hemorrhage in patients with small and large intracranial aneurysms. Results, however, are less satisfactory in cases involving giant lesions. Further follow-up review is necessary to establish durability in the longer term. Patients with Grade IV or V subarachnoid hemorrhage in this series generally had poor outcomes even if the GDC procedure was successful in occluding the aneurysm.

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