Bilateral vertebral artery balloon occlusion for giant vertebrobasilar aneurysms

Neuroradiology. 2001 Apr;43(4):336-41. doi: 10.1007/s002340000498.


We describe the clinical presentation, radiological and clinical results in six consecutive patients with a giant vertebrobasilar aneurysm treated by bilateral vertebral artery balloon occlusion. Five patients presented with headache and signs of brain-stem compression and one with subarachnoid haemorrhage. In all patients vertebral artery balloon occlusion was performed. In four, this followed successful test occlusion. In one patient, who did not tolerate the test occlusion, a bypass from the external carotid to the posterior cerebral artery preceded definitive vertebral artery occlusion. One patient underwent bypass surgery prior to test occlusion. At 6-22 months follow-up three patients had a good functional outcome and showed unchanged size or shrinkage of the aneurysm on MRI. Three other patients died; one from recurrent haemorrhage, and two probably from delayed brain-stem ischaemia. The presence of two large posterior communicating arteries predicted good functional outcome, which was also related to the clinical condition at presentation, and the degree of brain-stem compression and oedema on MRI. Bilateral vertebral artery balloon occlusion can be considered in patients with otherwise untreatable giant vertebrobasilar aneurysms. If test occlusion is not tolerated, a surgical bypass to the posterior circulation can be considered.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aneurysm / diagnosis
  • Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Balloon Occlusion*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vertebral Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Vertebral Artery* / pathology