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Daniel-Alexandre Bisson, Peter Dirks, Afsaneh Amirabadi, Manohar M. Shroff, Timo Krings, Vitor Mendes Pereira and Prakash Muthusami

OBJECTIVE

There are little data in the literature on the characteristics and natural history of unruptured intracranial aneurysms in children. The authors analyzed their experience with unruptured intracranial aneurysms in the pediatric population at their tertiary care pediatric institution over the last 18 years. The first objective was to assess the imaging characteristics and natural history of these aneurysms in order to help guide management strategies in the future. A second objective was to evaluate the frequency of an underlying condition when an incidental intracranial aneurysm was detected in a child.

METHODS

The authors conducted a Research Ethics Board–approved retrospective review of incidental intracranial aneurysms in patients younger than 18 years of age who had been treated at their institution in the period from 1998 to 2016. Clinical (age, sex, syndrome) and radiological (aneurysm location, type, size, thrombus, mass effect) data were recorded. Follow-up imaging was assessed for temporal changes.

RESULTS

Sixty intracranial aneurysms occurred in 51 patients (36 males, 15 females) with a mean age of 10.5 ± 0.5 years (range 9 months–17 years). Forty-five patients (88.2%) had a single aneurysm, while 2 and 3 aneurysms were found in 3 patients each (5.8%). Syndromic association was found in 22 patients (43.1%), most frequently sickle cell disease (10/22 [45.5%]). Aneurysms were saccular in 43 cases (71.7%; mean size 5.0 ± 5.7 mm) and fusiform in the remaining 17 (28.3%; mean size 6.5 ± 2.7 mm). Thirty-one aneurysms (51.7%) arose from the internal carotid artery (right/left 1.4), most commonly in the cavernous segment (10/31 [32.3%]). Mean size change over the entire follow-up of 109 patient-years was a decrease of 0.6 ± 4.2 mm (range −30.0 to +4.0 mm, rate −0.12 ± 9.9 mm/yr). Interval growth (2.0 ± 1.0 mm) was seen in 8 aneurysms (13.3%; 4 saccular, 4 fusiform). An interval decrease in size (8.3 ± 10.7 mm) was seen in 6 aneurysms (10%). There was an inverse relationship between aneurysm size and growth rate (r = −0.82, p < 0.00001). One aneurysm was treated endovascularly with internal carotid artery sacrifice.

CONCLUSIONS

Unruptured pediatric intracranial aneurysms are most frequently single but can occur in multiples in a syndromic setting. None of the cases from the study period showed clinical or imaging signs of rupture. Growth over time, although unusual and slow, can occur in a proportion of these patients, who should be identified for short-term imaging surveillance.

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Kartik Bhatia, Hans Kortman, Christopher Blair, Geoffrey Parker, David Brunacci, Timothy Ang, John Worthington, Prakash Muthusami, Hazem Shoirah, J Mocco and Timo Krings

OBJECTIVE

The role of mechanical thrombectomy in pediatric acute ischemic stroke is uncertain, despite extensive evidence of benefit in adults. The existing literature consists of several recent small single-arm cohort studies, as well as multiple prior small case series and case reports. Published reports of pediatric cases have increased markedly since 2015, after the publication of the positive trials in adults. The recent AHA/ASA Scientific Statement on this issue was informed predominantly by pre-2015 case reports and identified several knowledge gaps, including how young a child may undergo thrombectomy. A repeat systematic review and meta-analysis is warranted to help guide therapeutic decisions and address gaps in knowledge.

METHODS

Using PRISMA-IPD guidelines, the authors performed a systematic review of the literature from 1999 to April 2019 and individual patient data meta-analysis, with 2 independent reviewers. An additional series of 3 cases in adolescent males from one of the authors’ centers was also included. The primary outcomes were the rate of good long-term (mRS score 0–2 at final follow-up) and short-term (reduction in NIHSS score by ≥ 8 points or NIHSS score 0–1 at up to 24 hours post-thrombectomy) neurological outcomes following mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke in patients < 18 years of age. The secondary outcome was the rate of successful angiographic recanalization (mTICI score 2b/3).

RESULTS

The authors’ review yielded 113 cases of mechanical thrombectomy in 110 pediatric patients. Although complete follow-up data are not available for all patients, 87 of 96 (90.6%) had good long-term neurological outcomes (mRS score 0–2), 55 of 79 (69.6%) had good short-term neurological outcomes, and 86 of 98 (87.8%) had successful angiographic recanalization (mTICI score 2b/3). Death occurred in 2 patients and symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage in 1 patient. Sixteen published thrombectomy cases were identified in children < 5 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS

Mechanical thrombectomy may be considered for acute ischemic stroke due to large vessel occlusion (ICA terminus, M1, basilar artery) in patients aged 1–18 years (Level C evidence; Class IIb recommendation). The existing evidence base is likely affected by selection and publication bias. A prospective multinational registry is recommended as the next investigative step.