Complications of endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysms

Surg Neurol. 2005 Jul;64(1):12-8; discussion 18-9. doi: 10.1016/j.surneu.2004.09.045.


Background: The International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial has indicated that endovascular management of acutely ruptured aneurysms may be superior to surgery. Clearly poor results ensue from both forms of treatment, and some of these are because of technical complications (not just poor patient status). This observational study was performed to determine the complications associated with the endovascular treatment of ruptured and unruptured cerebral aneurysms.

Methods: Prospective data were gathered on 118 patients undergoing 126 endovascular treatment sessions for 126 nontraumatic cerebral aneurysms (30% unruptured) over a 3-year period. The average age was 51 years (range, 12-85 years). Females comprised 75% of the population treated.

Results: Good outcomes were achieved with 71% of the procedures (59% for subarachnoid hemorrhage [SAH]; 97% for unruptured). No bleeding or rebleeding occurred from treated aneurysms. Vessel or aneurysm perforation occurred in 11 cases and led to adverse outcome in 3 (3%). Thromboembolic complications were felt to cause cerebral infarction in 8 cases (6%). The risk of vessel/aneurysm rupture or thromboembolic stroke was greater in patients with SAH. Eight attempts to coil (6%) were initially unsuccessful. Two of these were later successfully coiled and others had surgery. None of the failed attempts led to clinical deterioration. Balloon-assisted coiling (BAC) was not associated with an increased complication rate.

Conclusions: Vessel perforation and thromboembolic stroke are significant risks of endovascular treatment, especially after SAH. In our hands, however, BAC does not add to this risk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Thromboembolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Thromboembolism / etiology
  • Thromboembolism / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome