Objective: With a globally aging population, it is imperative to develop specific treatment strategies for intracranial aneurysms in the elderly. However, the optimal management of intracranial aneurysms in the elderly remains controversial, particularly for the unruptured aneurysms. Although endovascular treatment is increasingly being used for the management of aneurysms, large endovascular series in the elderly population are relatively lacking, especially with regard to the unruptured aneurysms. We present our single-center endovascular experience in treating intracranial aneurysms in 63 consecutive patients 70 years of age and older.
Methods: Between November 1998 and December 2003, among a total of 990 patients with intracranial aneurysms treated endovascularly at our center, 63 patients (6%) were 70 years of age or older. Forty-one patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and 22 presented with symptomatic unruptured aneurysms. A total of 84 aneurysms were detected in these 63 patients. Only those responsible for either the subarachnoid hemorrhage or clinical symptoms (68 aneurysms) were treated. The aneurysm characteristics, endovascular procedures and techniques, angiographic and clinical outcomes, and complications were reviewed.
Results: Selective embolization failed in three aneurysms (4%). In the remaining 65 aneurysms, complete occlusion was achieved in 33 aneurysms (51%), neck remnant was observed in 17 aneurysms (27%), and residual aneurysmal filling was observed in six aneurysms (9%). Parent vessel occlusion was used in the treatment of nine aneurysms (13%). Thirteen procedure-related complications occurred (19%), six of which resulted in clinical complications (9%). Nine deaths (14%) occurred; three (5%) were directly related to the endovascular procedures, and six (9%) were related to the medical complications of SAH. The remaining 54 patients had a mean clinical follow-up time of 13 months (range, 1-47 mo). Ninety-one percent (20 out of 22) of the patients with unruptured aneurysms and 89% (25/28) of the patients with low-grade (Hunt and Hess Grade I and II) ruptured aneurysms achieved excellent outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score, 0-1), whereas 77% (10 out of 13) of the patients with high-grade (Hunt and Hess Grade > or = III) ruptured aneurysms either died or had very poor outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score, 4-5). Angiographic follow-up (mean, 11 mo; range, 3-38 mo) was obtained in 34 of the 54 living patients (63%). Two aneurysms demonstrated minor changes that required no further treatment (5%). Five aneurysms showed major recurrences (17%), all of which were successfully retreated endovascularly.
Conclusion: The elderly patients should merit strong consideration for endovascular treatment of both ruptured and symptomatic unruptured intracranial aneurysms. However, in elderly patients with high-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage, morbidity and mortality rates remain high.