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Utilizing pre- and postoperative radiological parameters to predict surgical outcomes following untethering for tethered cord syndrome in a pediatric population

William Mualem, Karim Rizwan Nathani, Sulaman Durrani, Cameron Zamanian, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Juliana Rotter, David Daniels, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) can lead to significant downstream neurological deficits including gait deterioration, incontinence, and often unexplained chronic low-back pain. Surgical intervention may relieve symptoms, but there are no defined radiological parameters associated with surgical outcomes and functional status. The authors aimed to define pre- and postoperative radiological parameters for assessing surgical outcomes in TCS.

METHODS

The authors performed a single-center retrospective review of all pediatric patients treated for TCS between 2016 and 2021. Patient baseline characteristics and operative metrics included age, sex, level of conus, level of procedure, tethering pathology, symptoms at presentation, complications, improvement of symptoms, and reoperation rate. MRI measurements included pre- and postoperative anterior canal distance (ACD) and bending angle (BA).

RESULTS

Thirty-three pediatric patients were identified who underwent untethering of the spinal cord and had pre- and postoperative MRI between 2016 and 2021. The mean patient age was 5.64 ± 5.33 years. Twenty patients (60.60%) were female. Regarding the site of untethering, 31 procedures (93.93%) were performed at the lumbosacral region and 2 (6.06%) were performed at the thoracolumbar region. The conus medullaris was found above L3 in 21.21% of patients. Postoperatively, 18.18% of patients experienced complications, 48.48% showed improvement in their symptoms, and 48.48% were equivocal or had persistent symptoms. The mean preoperative ACD0 (measured from the posterior vertebral body margin [middle] to the anterior margin of the conus medullaris) was 6.15 ± 3.18 mm, the postoperative ACD0 was 2.25 ± 2.72 mm, and the average change in ACD0 was −0.90 ± 1.31 mm. The mean preoperative BA was 26.00° ± 11.56°, the mean postoperative BA was 15.92° ± 9.81°, and the average change in BA was −10.08° ± 8.80°. An optimal cutoff value for preoperative BA to predict reoperation in pediatric patients with complex TCS undergoing surgery was ≥ 31.70° (area under the curve = 0.83).

CONCLUSIONS

In surgically treated patients with TCS, certain preoperative radiological parameters may be important in predicting postoperative surgical outcomes; these parameters can be evaluated and reported to indicate patients at high risk for complications. Further prospective multicenter research is warranted to offer robust evidence of association of patient outcomes with preoperative radiological parameters in TCS.

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Using machine learning to predict 30-day readmission and reoperation following resection of supratentorial high-grade gliomas: an ACS NSQIP study involving 9418 patients

Abdul Karim Ghaith, Marc Ghanem, Cameron Zamanian, Antonio A. Bon-Nieves, Archis Bhandarkar, Karim Nathani, Mohamad Bydon, and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

OBJECTIVE

High-grade gliomas (HGGs) are among the rarest yet most aggressive tumor types in neurosurgical practice. In the current literature, few studies have assessed the drivers of early outcomes following resection of these tumors and investigated their association with quality of care. The authors aimed to identify the clinical predictors for 30-day readmission and reoperation following HGG surgery using the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP) database and sought to create web-based applications predicting each outcome.

METHODS

Using the ACS NSQIP database, the authors conducted a retrospective, multicenter cohort analysis of patients who underwent resection of supratentorial HGGs between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2020. Demographics and comorbidities were extracted. The primary outcomes were 30-day unplanned readmission and reoperation. A stratified 80:20 split of the available data was carried out. Supervised machine learning algorithms were trained to predict 30-day outcomes.

RESULTS

A total of 9418 patients were included in our cohort. The observed rate of unplanned readmission within 30 days of surgery was 13.0% (n = 1221). In terms of predictors, weight, chronic steroid use, preoperative blood urea nitrogen level, and white blood cell count were associated with a higher risk of readmission. The observed rate of unplanned reoperation within 30 days of surgery was 5.2% (n = 489). In terms of predictors, increased weight, longer operative time, and more days between hospital admission and operation were associated with an increased risk of early reoperation. The random forest algorithm showed the highest predictive performance for early readmission (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.967), while the XGBoost algorithm showed the highest predictive performance for early reoperation (AUC = 0.985). Web-based tools for both outcomes were deployed (https://glioma-readmission.herokuapp.com/ and https://glioma-reoperation.herokuapp.com/).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the authors provide the first nationwide analysis for short-term outcomes in patients undergoing resection of supratentorial HGGs. Multiple patient, hospital, and admission factors were associated with readmission and reoperation, confirmed by machine learning predicting patients’ prognosis, leading to better planning preoperatively and subsequently improved personalized patient care.

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Single-level awake transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a Mayo Clinic institutional experience and national analysis

Kingsley Abode-Iyamah, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Gaetano De Biase, Rami Rajjoub, Selby G. Chen, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Awake transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a novel technique for performing spinal fusions in patients under conscious sedation. Whether awake TLIF can reduce operative times and decrease the hospital length of stay (LOS) remains to be shown. In this study, the authors sought to assess the differences in clinical outcomes between patients who underwent awake TLIF and those who underwent TLIF under general anesthesia by using institutional experience at the Mayo Clinic and the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database.

METHODS

Chart review was performed for a consecutive series of patients who underwent single-level minimally invasive surgery (MIS)–TLIF performed by a single surgeon (K.A.I.) at a single institution. Additionally, the NSQIP database was queried from 2016 to 2019 for patients who underwent awake TLIF as well as propensity score–matched patients who underwent TLIF under general anesthesia.

RESULTS

A total of 20 patients at Mayo Clinic underwent awake single-level MIS-TLIF. The mean operative time was 122 ± 16.68 minutes, and the mean estimated blood loss was 39 ± 30.24 ml. No intraoperative complications were reported. A total of 96 patients who underwent TLIF (24 awake and 72 under general anesthesia) were analyzed from the NSQIP database. The mean LOS was less in the awake cohort (1.4 ± 1.381 days) than the general anesthesia cohort (3 ± 2.274 days) (p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

Evidence from the authors’ institutional experience and national analysis has demonstrated that awake MIS-TLIF is efficient and can reduce hospital LOS.

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Hybrid surgery: a comparison of early postoperative outcomes between anterior cervical discectomy and fusion and cervical disc arthroplasty

Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Ryan Jarrah, Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Arjun S. Sebastian, Brett A. Freedman, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Hybrid surgery (HS) is the combination of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) at different levels in the same operation. The aim of this study was to investigate perioperative variables, 30-day postoperative outcomes, and complications of HS in comparison with those of CDA and ACDF.

METHODS

The authors queried the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) registry for patients who underwent multilevel primary HS, CDA, and ACDF for degenerative disc disease from 2015 to 2019. The authors compared these three operations in terms of 30-day postoperative outcomes, specifically readmission and reoperation rates, discharge destination, and complications.

RESULTS

This analysis included 439 patients who underwent HS, 976 patients who underwent CDA, and 27,460 patients who underwent ACDF. Patients in the HS and CDA groups were younger, had fewer comorbidities, and myelopathy was less often the indication for surgery compared with patients who underwent ACDF. For the HS group, the unplanned readmission rate was 0.7%, index surgery–related reoperation rate was 0.3%, and nonroutine discharge rate was 2.1%. Major and minor complications were also rare, with rates of 0.2% for each. The mean length of stay in the HS group was 1.5 days. The association of HS with better outcomes in univariate analysis was not evident after adjustment for confounding factors.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that HS was noninferior to ACDF and CDA in terms of early postoperative outcomes among patients treated for degenerative disc disease.

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Assessing the differences in operative and patient-reported outcomes between lateral approaches for lumbar fusion: a systematic review and indirect meta-analysis

Atiq ur Rehman Bhatti, Joseph Cesare, Waseem Wahood, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Chiduziem E. Onyedimma, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Oluwatoyin Akinnusotu, Sally El Sammak, Brett A. Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Anterior-to-psoas lumbar interbody fusion (ATP-LIF), more commonly referred to as oblique lateral interbody fusion, and lateral transpsoas lumbar interbody fusion (LTP-LIF), also known as extreme lateral interbody fusion, are the two commonly used lateral approaches for performing a lumbar fusion procedure. These approaches help overcome some of the technical challenges associated with traditional approaches for lumbar fusion. In this systematic review and indirect meta-analysis, the authors compared operative and patient-reported outcomes between these two select approaches using available studies.

METHODS

Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach, the authors conducted an electronic search using the PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus databases for studies published before May 1, 2019. Indirect meta-analysis was conducted on fusion rate, cage movement (subsidence plus migration), permanent deficits, and transient deficits; results were depicted as forest plots of proportions (effect size [ES]).

RESULTS

A total of 63 studies were included in this review after applying the exclusion criteria, of which 26 studies investigated the outcomes of ATP-LIF, while 37 studied the outcomes of LTP-LIF. The average fusion rate was found to be similar between the two groups (ES 0.97, 95% CI 0.84–1.00 vs ES 0.94, 95% CI 0.91–0.97; p = 0.561). The mean incidence of cage movement was significantly higher in the ATP-LIF group compared with the LTP-LIF group (stand-alone: ES 0.15, 95% CI 0.06–0.27 vs ES 0.09, 95% CI 0.04–0.16 [p = 0.317]; combined: ES 0.18, 95% CI 0.07–0.32 vs ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.00–0.05 [p = 0.002]). The mean incidence of reoperations was significantly higher in patients undergoing ATP-LIF than in those undergoing LTP-LIF (ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.01–0.03 vs ES 0.04, 95% CI 0.02–0.07; p = 0.012). The mean incidence of permanent deficits was similar between the two groups (stand-alone: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.05, 95% CI 0.01–0.12 [p = 0.204]; combined: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.00–0.08 [p = 0.595]). The postoperative changes in visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores were both found to be higher for ATP-LIF relative to LTP-LIF (VAS: weighted average 4.11 [SD 2.03] vs weighted average 3.75 [SD 1.94] [p = 0.004]; ODI: weighted average 28.3 [SD 5.33] vs weighted average 24.3 [SD 4.94] [p < 0.001]).

CONCLUSIONS

These analyses indicate that while both approaches are associated with similar fusion rates, ATP-LIF may be related to higher odds of cage movement and reoperations as compared with LTP-LIF. Furthermore, there is no difference in rates of permanent deficits between the two procedures.

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Building and implementing an institutional registry for a data-driven national neurosurgical practice: experience from a multisite medical center

Mohamad Bydon, Anshit Goyal, Aaron Biedermann, Allie J. Canoy Illies, Travis Paul, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Bernard Bendok, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Robert J. Spinner, and Fredric B. Meyer

In an era when healthcare “value” remains a much-emphasized concept, measuring and reporting the quality of neurosurgical care and costs remains a challenge for large multisite health systems. Ensuring cohesion in outcomes across multiple sites is important to the development of a holistic competitive marketing strategy that seeks to promote “brand” performance characterized by a superior quality of patient care. This requires mechanisms for data collection and development of a single uniform outcomes measurement system site wide. Operationalizing a true multidisciplinary effort in this space requires intersection of a vast array of information technology and administrative resources along with the neurosurgeons who provide subject-matter expertise relevant to patient care. To measure neurosurgical quality and safety as well as improve payor contract negotiations, a practice analytics dashboard was created to allow summary visualization of operational indicators such as case volumes, quality outcomes, and relative value units and financial indicators such as total hospital costs and charges in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the “value” of surgical care. The current version of the dashboard summarizes these metrics by site, surgeon, and procedure for nearly 30,000 neurosurgical procedures that have been logged into the Mayo Clinic Enterprise Neurosurgery Registry since transition to the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system. In this article, the authors sought to review their experience in launching this EHR-linked data-driven neurosurgical practice initiative across a large, national multisite academic medical center.

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Association between immunohistochemical markers and tumor progression following resection of spinal chordomas: a multicenter study

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Abdul Karim Ghaith, Oluwaseun O. Akinduro, Carlos Perez-Vega, Antonio Bon Nieves, Kingsley Abode-Iyamah, Naresh Patel, Maziyar Kalani, Michelle J. Clarke, Peter Rose, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Chordomas are slow-growing tumors derived from notochord remnants. Despite margin-negative excision and postoperative radiation therapy, spinal chordomas (SCs) often progress. The potential of immunohistochemical (IHC) markers, such as epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), combined with machine learning algorithms to predict long-term (≥ 12 months) postoperative tumor progression, has been understudied. The authors aimed to identify IHC markers using trained tree-based algorithms to predict long-term (≥ 12 months) postoperative tumor progression.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the records of patients who underwent resection of SCs between January 2017 and June 2021 across the Mayo Clinic enterprise. Demographics, type of treatment, histopathology, and other relevant clinical factors were abstracted from each patient’s record. Low tumor progression was defined as more than a 94.3-mm3 decrease in the tumor size at the latest radiographic follow-up. Decision trees and random forest classifiers were trained and tested to predict the long-term volumetric progression after an 80/20 data split.

RESULTS

Sixty-two patients diagnosed with and surgically treated for SC were identified, of whom 31 were found to have a more advanced tumor progression based on the tumor volume change cutoff of 94.3 mm3. The mean age was 54.3 ± 13.8 years, and most patients were male (62.9%) and White (98.4%). The most common treatment modality was subtotal resection with radiation therapy (35.5%), with proton beam therapy being the most common (71%). Most SCs were sacrococcygeal (41.9%), followed by cervical (32.3%). EMA-positive SCs had a postoperative progression risk of 67%. Pancytokeratin-positive SCs had a progression rate of 67%; however, patients with S100 protein–positive SCs had a 54% risk of progression. The accuracy of this model in predicting the progression of unseen test data was 66%. Pancytokeratin (mean minimal depth = 1.57), EMA (mean minimal depth = 1.58), cytokeratin A1/A3 (mean minimal depth = 1.59), and S100 protein (mean minimal depth = 1.6) predicted the long-term volumetric progression. Multiway variable importance plots show the relative importance of the top 10 variables based on three measures of varying significance and their predictive role.

CONCLUSIONS

These IHC variables with tree-based machine learning tools successfully demonstrate a high capacity to identify a patient’s tumor progression pattern with an accuracy of 66%. Pancytokeratin, EMA, cytokeratin A1/A3, and S100 protein were the IHC drivers of a low tumor progression. This shows the power of machine learning algorithms in analyzing and predicting outcomes of rare conditions in a small sample size.

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Immunohistochemical markers predicting long-term recurrence following clival and spinal chordoma resection: a multicenter study

Abdul Karim Ghaith, Oluwaseun O. Akinduro, A. Yohan Alexander, Anshit Goyal, Antonio Bon-Nieves, Leonardo de Macedo Filho, Andrea Otamendi-Lopez, Karim Rizwan Nathani, Kingsley Abode-Iyamah, Mark E. Jentoft, Bernard R. Bendok, Michelle J. Clarke, Michael J. Link, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Chordomas are rare tumors from notochordal remnants and account for 1%–4% of all primary bone malignancies, often arising from the clivus and sacrum. Despite margin-negative resection and postoperative radiotherapy, chordomas often recur. Further, immunohistochemical (IHC) markers have not been assessed as predictive of chordoma recurrence. The authors aimed to identify the IHC markers that are predictive of postoperative long-term (≥ 1 year) chordoma recurrence by using trained multiple tree-based machine learning (ML) algorithms.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the records of patients who had undergone treatment for clival and spinal chordomas between January 2017 and June 2021 across the Mayo Clinic enterprise (Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona). Demographics, type of treatment, histopathology, and other relevant clinical factors were abstracted from each patient record. Decision tree and random forest classifiers were trained and tested to predict long-term recurrence based on unseen data using an 80/20 split.

RESULTS

One hundred fifty-one patients diagnosed and treated for chordomas were identified: 58 chordomas of the clivus, 48 chordomas of the mobile spine, and 45 chordomas sacrococcygeal in origin. Patients diagnosed with cervical chordomas were the oldest among all groups (58 ± 14 years, p = 0.009). Most patients were male (n = 91, 60.3%) and White (n = 139, 92.1%). Most patients underwent resection with or without radiation therapy (n = 129, 85.4%). Subtotal resection followed by radiation therapy (n = 51, 33.8%) was the most common treatment modality, followed by gross-total resection then radiation therapy (n = 43, 28.5%). Multivariate analysis showed that S100 and pan-cytokeratin are more likely to predict the increase in the risk of postoperative recurrence (OR 3.67, 95% CI 1.09–12.42, p= 0.03; and OR 3.74, 95% CI 0.05–2.21, p = 0.02, respectively). In the decision tree analysis, a clinical follow-up > 1897 days was found in 37% of encounters and a 90% chance of being classified for recurrence (accuracy = 77%). Random forest analysis (n = 500 trees) showed that patient age, type of surgical treatment, location of tumor, S100, pan-cytokeratin, and EMA are the factors predicting long-term recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS

The IHC and clinicopathological variables combined with tree-based ML tools successfully demonstrated a high capacity to identify recurrence patterns with an accuracy of 77%. S100, pan-cytokeratin, and EMA were the IHC drivers of recurrence. This shows the power of ML algorithms in analyzing and predicting outcomes of rare conditions of a small sample size.

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Immunohistochemical markers predicting recurrence following resection and radiotherapy in chordoma patients: insights from a multicenter study

Antonio Bon Nieves, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Victor Gabriel El-Hajj, Oluwaseun O. Akinduro, Sufyan Ibrahim, Marc Ghanem, Anshit Goyal, Andrea Otamendi-Lopez, Karim Rizwan Nathani, Garret Choby, Nadia N. Laack, Michael J. Link, Maria Peris Celda, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Mohamad Bydon, and Carlos Pinheiro Neto

OBJECTIVE

Chordomas are rare tumors that often recur regardless of surgery with negative margins and postoperative radiotherapy. The predictive accuracy of widely used immunohistochemical (IHC) markers in addressing the recurrence of skull base chordomas (SBCs) is yet to be determined. This study aimed to investigate IHC markers in the prediction of recurrence after SBC resection with adjuvant radiation therapy.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the records of patients who had treatment for SBC between January 2017 and June 2021 across the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona. Exclusion criteria included patients who had no histopathology or recurrence as an outcome. Histopathological markers included cytokeratin A1/A3 only, epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), S100 protein, pan-cytokeratin, IN1, GATA3, CAM5.2, OSCAR, and chondroid. Information from patient records was abstracted, including treatment, clinical and radiological follow-up duration, demographics, and histopathological factors. Decision tree and random forest classifiers were trained and tested to predict the recurrence based on unseen data using an 80/20 split.

RESULTS

A total of 38 patients with a diagnosis of SBC who underwent resection (gross-total resection: 42.1%; and subtotal resection: 57.9%) and radiation therapy were extracted from the medical records. The mean patient age was 48.2 (SD 19.6) years; most patients were male (n = 23; 60.5%) and White (n = 36; 94.7%). Pan-cytokeratin was associated with an increased risk of postoperative recurrence (OR 14.67, 95% CI 2.44–88.13; p = 0.00517) after resection and adjuvant radiotherapy. The decision tree analysis found pan-cytokeratin–positive tumors to have a 78% chance of being classified as a recurrence, with an accuracy of 75%. The distribution of minimal depth in the prediction of postoperative recurrence indicates that the most important variables were pan-cytokeratin, followed by cytokeratin A1/A3 and EMA.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ machine learning algorithm identified pan-cytokeratin as the largest contributor to recurrence among other IHC markers after SBC resection. Machine learning may facilitate the prediction of outcomes in rare tumors, such as chordomas.

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Flow diversion using the Pipeline embolization device for intracranial and extracranial pseudoaneurysms: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature

Elena Greco, Jorge Rios-Zermeno, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Umme Habiba Faisal, Anshit Goyal, Oluwaseun O. Akinduro, Samir Kashyap, David A. Miller, Stephen P. Graepel, Mohamad Bydon, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Sukhwinder S. Sandhu, and Rabih G. Tawk

OBJECTIVE

Pseudoaneurysms (PSAs) are complex vascular lesions. Flow diversion has been proposed as an alternative treatment to parent artery occlusion that preserves laminar flow. The authors of the present study investigated the safety and short-term (< 1 year) and long-term (≥ 1 year) aneurysm occlusion rates following the treatment of intracranial and extracranial PSAs using the Pipeline embolization device (PED).

METHODS

An electronic database search for full-text English-language articles in Ovid MEDLINE and Epub Ahead of Print, Ovid Embase, Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus was conducted following the PRISMA guidelines. Studies of any design including at least 4 patients with intracranial or extracranial PSAs treated using a PED were included in this analysis. The primary outcome of interest was the rate of peri- and postprocedural complications. Secondarily, the authors analyzed the incidence of complete aneurysm occlusion.

RESULTS

A total of 90 patients with 96 PSAs across 9 studies were included. The mean age was 38.2 (SD 15.14) years, and 37.8% of the patients were women. The mean PSA size was 4.9 mm. Most PSAs were unruptured, and the most common etiology was trauma (n = 32, 35.5%), followed by spontaneous formation (n = 21, 23.3%) and iatrogenic injury (n = 19, 21.1%). Among the 51 (53.1%) intracranial and 45 (46.9%) extracranial PSAs were 19 (19.8%) dissecting PSAs. Sixty-six (77.6%) PSAs were in the internal carotid artery and 10 (11.8%) in the vertebral artery. Thirty-three (34.4%) PSAs were treated with ≥ 2 devices, and 8 (8.3%) underwent adjunctive coiling. The mean clinical and angiographic follow-up durations were 10.7 and 12.9 months, respectively. The short-term (< 1 year) and long-term (≥ 1 year) complete occlusion rates were 79% (95% CI 66%–88%, p = 0.82) and 84% (95% CI 70%–92%, p = 0.95), respectively. Complication rates were 8% for iatrogenic dissection (95% CI 3%–16%, p = 0.94), 10% for silent thromboembolism (95% CI 5%–21%, p = 0.77), and 12% for symptomatic thromboembolism (95% CI 6%–23%, p = 0.48). No treatment-related hemorrhage was observed. The overall mortality rate at the last follow-up was 14%.

CONCLUSIONS

The complete occlusion rate for PSAs treated with the PED was high and increased over time. Although postprocedural complications and mortality were not insignificant, flow diversion represents a reasonably safe option for managing these complex lesions.