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  • Author or Editor: Michael Lanfranchi x
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Robert S. Heller, Venkata Dandamudi, Michael Lanfranchi and Adel M. Malek

Object

Flow-diverting stents offer a novel treatment approach to intracranial aneurysms. Data regarding the incidence of acute procedure-related thromboembolic complications following deployment of the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) remain scant. The authors sought to determine the rate of embolic events in a bid to identify potential risk factors and assess the role of platelet inhibition.

Methods

Data in all patients receiving a PED for treatment of an intracranial aneurysm were prospectively maintained in a database. Diffusion-weighted 3-T MRI was performed within 24 hours of PED deployment. The incident rate of procedural embolism was established, and univariate analysis was then performed to determine any associations of embolic events with measured variables. The degree of platelet inhibition in response to aspirin and clopidogrel was evaluated by challenging the platelet samples with arachidonic acid and adenosine diphosphate, respectively, and then performing formal light transmission platelet aggregometry.

Results

Twenty-three patients with 26 aneurysms were eligible for inclusion in the study. Thirty-one PEDs were deployed in 25 procedures. All ischemic lesions detected on diffusion-weighted 3-T MRI were identified as embolic based on their location and distribution, with none appearing to be due to perforator artery occlusion. Procedural embolic events were found in the target parent vessel territory in 13 (52%) of 25 procedures, with no patients harboring lesions contralateral to the deployed PED. The number of embolic events per procedure ranged from 3 to 16, with a mean of 5.4. There was no significant difference between cases with and without procedural embolism in platelet inhibition by aspirin (mean 15% vs 12% residual activation; p = 0.28), platelet inhibition by clopidogrel (mean 41% vs 41% residual activation; p = 0.98), or intraprocedural heparin-induced anticoagulation (mean activated clotting time 235 seconds vs 237 seconds; p = 0.81). By multivariate analysis, the authors identified larger aneurysm size (p = 0.03) as the single variable significantly associated with procedural embolism. There was no significant relationship between aneurysm size and the number of embolic events (p = 0.32) or the total burden of the embolism lesion area (p = 0.53).

Conclusions

Acute embolism following use of the PED for treatment of intracranial aneurysms is more common than hypothesized. The only identifiable risk factor for embolism appears to be greater aneurysm size, perhaps indicating significant disturbed flow across the aneurysm neck with ingress and egress through the PED struts. The strength of antiplatelet therapy, as measured by residual platelet aggregation, did not appear to be associated with cases of procedural embolism. Further work is needed to determine the implications of these findings and whether anticoagulation regimens can be altered to lower the rate of complications following PED deployment.

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Robert Heller, Daniel R. Calnan, Michael Lanfranchi, Neel Madan and Adel M. Malek

Object

Incomplete stent apposition of the closed cell–design Enterprise stent following stent-mediated coil embolization of intracranial aneurysms has been associated with increased risk of periprocedural thromboembolic events. In this study, the authors seek to determine the natural history of incomplete stent apposition and evaluate the clinical implications of the phenomenon.

Methods

Since January 2009, all patients receiving Enterprise stents in the treatment of intracranial aneurysms at the authors' institution have undergone serial 3-T MRI with incomplete stent apposition identified by the crescent sign on multiplanar reconstructions of MR angiograms. Magnetic resonance images and MR angiograms obtained at 3, 9, and 18 months after stent-assisted coil embolization were analyzed along with admission and follow-up clinical medical records. These records were evaluated for any radiographic and clinical, transient or permanent ischemic neurological events.

Results

Fifty patients receiving Enterprise stents were eligible for inclusion and analysis in the study. Incomplete stent apposition was identified in postoperative imaging studies in 22 (44%) of 50 patients, with 19 (86%) of 22 crescent signs persisting and 3 (14%) of 22 crescent signs resolving on subsequent serial imaging. Delayed ischemic events occurred in 8 (16%) of 50 cases, and all cases involved patients with incomplete stent apposition. The events were transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) in 5 cases, asymptomatic radiographic strokes in 2 cases, and symptomatic strokes and TIAs in the final case. There were no delayed ischemic events in patients who did not have incomplete stent apposition. Only 1 of the delayed ischemic events (2%) was permanent and symptomatic. The postoperative presence of a crescent sign and persistence of the crescent sign were both significantly associated with delayed ischemic events (p < 0.001 and p = 0.002, respectively).

Conclusions

Incomplete stent apposition is a temporally persistent phenomenon, which resolves spontaneously in only a small minority of cases and appears to be a risk factor for delayed ischemic events. Although further follow-up is needed, these results suggest that longer duration of antiplatelet therapy and clinical follow-up may be warranted in cases of recognized incomplete stent apposition.