Association of endovascular therapy of very small ruptured aneurysms with higher rates of procedure-related rupture

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Procedure-related rupture during endovascular therapy of intracranial aneurysms is associated with a mortality rate of more than one third. Previously ruptured aneurysms are a known risk factor for procedure-related rupture. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether very small, ruptured aneurysms are associated with more frequent intraprocedural ruptures.


This was a retrospective cohort study in which the investigators examined consecutive ruptured aneurysms treated with coil embolization at a single institution. The study was approved by the institutional review board. Very small aneurysms were defined as ≤ 3 mm. Procedure-related rupture was defined as contrast extravasation during treatment. Univariate analysis with the Fisher exact test and the Mann–Whitney U test was performed.


Between August 1992 and January 2007, 682 aneurysms were selectively treated with coils in 668 patients. Procedure-related rupture occurred in 7 (11.7%) of 60 aneurysms ≤ 3 mm, compared with 14 (2.3%) of 622 aneurysms > 3 mm (relative risk 5.2, 95% confidence interval 2.2–12.8; p < 0.001). Among cases with procedure-related rupture, inflation of a compliant balloon was associated with better outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale Score ≥ 4) compared with patients treated without balloon assistance (5 of 5 compared with 7 of 16; p = 0.05). Death resulting from procedure-related rupture occurred in 8 (38%) of 21 patients, and a vegetative state occurred in 1 patient. Clinical outcome was good in the other 12 patients (57%).


Endovascular coil embolization of very small (≤ 3 mm) ruptured cerebral aneurysms is 5 times more likely to result in procedure-related rupture compared with larger aneurysms. Balloon inflation for hemostasis may be associated with better outcome in the event of intraprocedural rupture and merits further study.

Abbreviations used in this paper: GOS = Glasgow Outcome Scale; ICP = intracranial pressure; MCA = middle cerebral artery; PICA = posterior inferior cerebellar artery; SCA = superior cerebellar artery.

Article Information

Address correspondence to: Alain Weill, M.D., Department of Radiology, Notre Dame Hospital, 1560 Sherbrooke Street East, Montreal, Quebec H2L 4M1, Canada. email:

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.




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