Treatment of basilar artery bifurcation aneurysms by using Guglielmi detachable coils: a 6-year experience

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; and Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
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Object. The authors retrospectively analyzed the results of their 6-year experience in the treatment of basilar artery (BA) bifurcation aneurysms by using Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs).

Methods. This analysis involved 45 BA tip aneurysms in 16 men and 29 women who ranged in age from 23 to 78 years (mean 50 years). Seventy-five percent of the aneurysms had ruptured and 25% remained unruptured. Of the group whose aneurysms hemorrhaged, 14 patients were Hunt and Hess Grade I or II and 20 were Hunt and Hess Grades III to V; 32 patients were treated within 2 weeks of their subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Initially, treatment with GDCs was limited to poor-grade high-risk patients who refused surgery or patients in whom surgery proved unsuccessful. Later in the study, good-grade patients with narrow-necked aneurysms were also treated using GDCs.

The length of clinical follow up ranged from 1 to 72 months (average 27.4 months) in the 37 surviving patients. In 33 of the 45 aneurysms treated with coil placement, good to excellent results were achieved. There were 12 poor results (27%) including one in a patient from the non-SAH group who suffered a thrombotic complication due to an underlying vasculitis. Eight deaths were recorded in this group of 45 patients. One of these deaths was caused by a complication related to anesthesia, one by unknown causes, and six resulted from complications of the disease. One patient rebled on the 2nd day after the endovascular procedure. The mortality and permanent morbidity rates directly related to the intervention were 2.2% and 4.4%, respectively.

Angiographic studies obtained immediately postintervention demonstrated 99 to 100% occlusion in 30 (67%) of the aneurysms; nine (20%) were more than 90% occluded; and six (13%) were less than 90% occluded by the GDCs. Follow-up angiograms were obtained in 31 patients between 2 and 72 months after coil placement. Nineteen (61%) of the follow-up angiograms revealed stable results (that is, no change from initial treatment). Twelve of the 31 showed coil compaction, but only eight of these lesions could accept additional coils.

In large aneurysms recanalization was seen in 57%, and some of the larger lesions required as many as four embolizations (mean 1.7) to achieve optimal occlusion. When small-necked aneurysms were analyzed as a subset, a stable angiographic result was seen in 92%.

Conclusions. Use of GDCs led to excellent clinical and angiographic results in the majority of patients with BA tip aneurysms included in this limited follow-up study. Rebleeding was encountered in one of the 34 previously ruptured BA aneurysms treated with GDCs, and no hemorrhages have been documented in the 11 unruptured aneurysms treated with GDCs in this series. Long-term follow-up studies are necessary before it is possible to compare adequately the treatment of aneurysms with coil placement to the gold standard of aneurysm clipping.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Gerhard Bavinzski, M.D., Neurochirurgische Universität Klinik, Allgemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Wien, Waehringer Guertel 18–20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
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