Outcomes after aneurysm rupture during endovascular coil embolization

Neurosurgery. 2001 Nov;49(5):1059-66; discussion 1066-7. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200111000-00007.


Objective: Intracranial aneurysm rupture during placement of Guglielmi detachable coils has been reported, but the management and consequences of this event have not been extensively described. We present our experience with this feared complication and report possible neuroradiological and neurosurgical interventions to improve outcomes.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records for 701 patients with 734 intracranial aneurysms that were treated with endovascular coiling, during a 6-year period, in the metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minnesota) area. This analysis revealed 10 cases of perforation during coiling. The management and outcomes were recorded, and the pertinent literature was reviewed.

Results: All 10 cases involved previously ruptured aneurysms. This complication occurred sporadically and was not observed in the first 100 cases. Perforation occurred during microcatheterization of the aneurysm in two cases and during coil deposition in eight cases. Seven of the perforated aneurysms were located in the anterior circulation and three in the posterior circulation. Six of the 10 patients made good or fair recoveries; all three patients with posterior circulation lesions died immediately after rehemorrhage. Elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) was noted for all five patients with intraventricular catheters in place. Bilateral pupil dilation and profound hemodynamic changes were noted for eight patients. Coiling was rapidly completed, and total or nearly total occlusion was achieved in all cases. Emergency ventriculostomy was performed to rapidly reduce increased ICP for two patients, both of whom made good recoveries. Hemodynamic and angiographic factors after perforation, such as prolonged systemic hypertension, persistent dye extravasation after deployment of the first Guglielmi detachable coil, and persistent prolongation of contrast dye transit time (suggesting ongoing ICP elevation), were correlated with poor outcomes.

Conclusion: Previously ruptured aneurysms seem to be more susceptible to endovascular treatment-related perforation than are unruptured lesions. Worse prognoses are associated with iatrogenic rupture during coiling of posterior circulation lesions, compared with those in the anterior circulation. When perforation is recognized, the definitive treatment seems to be reversal of anticoagulation therapy and completion of Guglielmi detachable coil embolization. Immediate neurosurgical intervention is limited in these cases and focuses on decreasing ICP via emergency ventriculostomy. However, these measures may be life-saving, and neurosurgical assistance must be readily available during treatment of these cases.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / diagnostic imaging
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / surgery*
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Hypertension / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ventriculostomy