Flow-diverter stents in the early management of acutely ruptured brain aneurysms: effective rebleeding protection with low thromboembolic complications

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery,
  • | 2 Radiology, and
  • | 3 Neurology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel; and
  • | 4 Division of Surgery, Neurosurgery Department, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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OBJECTIVE

Flow-diverter stents (FDSs) are not generally used for the management of acutely ruptured aneurysms with associated subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Herein, the authors present their experience with FDSs in this scenario, focusing on the antiplatelet regimen, perioperative management, and outcome.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed their institutional database for the treatment and outcomes of all patients with acutely ruptured aneurysms and associated SAH from July 2010 to September 2018 who had received an FDS implant as stand-alone treatment within 4 days after diagnosis. The protocol with the use of flow diversion in these patients includes a low threshold for placement of external ventricular drains before stenting, followed by the administration of aspirin and clopidogrel with platelet testing before stent implantation. With this approach, the risk of hemorrhage and stent-related thrombus formation is limited. Demographic, clinical, technical, and imaging data were analyzed.

RESULTS

Overall, 76 patients (61% females, mean age 42.8 ± 11.3 years) met the inclusion criteria. FDS implantation was performed a median of 2 days after diagnosis. On average, 1.05 devices were used per procedure. There was no procedural mortality directly attributed to the endovascular intervention. Procedural device-related clinical complications were recorded in a total of 6 cases (7.9%) and resulted in permanent neurological morbidity in 2 cases (2.6%). There was complete immediate aneurysm occlusion in 11 patients (14.5%), and persistent aneurysm filling was seen in 65 patients (85.5%). Despite this, no patient presented with rebleeding from the target aneurysm. There was an excellent clinical outcome in 62 patients (81.6%), who had a 90-day modified Rankin Scale score of 0–2. Among the 71 survivors, total or near-total occlusion was observed in 64/67 patients (95.5%) with a 3- to 6-month angiographic follow-up and in all cases evaluated at 12 months. Five patients (6.6%) died during follow-up for reasons unrelated to the procedure or new hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS

Flow diversion is an effective therapeutic strategy for the management of select acutely ruptured aneurysms. Despite low rates of immediate aneurysm occlusion after FDS implantation, the device exerts an important protective effect. The authors’ experience confirmed no aneurysm rerupture, high rates of delayed complete occlusion, and complication rates that compare favorably with the rates obtained using other techniques.

ABBREVIATIONS

DAPT = dual-antiplatelet therapy; DSA = digital subtraction angiography; EVD = external ventricular drain; FDS = flow-diverter stent; ICA = internal carotid artery; mRS = modified Rankin Scale; OKM = O’Kelly-Marotta; PED = Pipeline embolization device; PRU = P2Y12 reaction unit; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Illustration from Fan et al. (pp 1298–1309). Copyright Jun Fan. Published with permission.

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