Introduction: Tortuous vasculature is a cause of failure of endovascular treatment of intracranial vascular lesions. We report our experience of direct cervical accesses in patients in whom the arterial femoral route was not attainable.
Methods: In this retrospective study, 42 direct punctures of the carotid or the vertebral arteries at the neck were performed in 38 patients. The vessel harboring the intracranial lesion was punctured at the neck above the main tortuosity, a sheath was then positioned under fluoroscopic control to allow a stable access to the intracranial circulation. After the procedure, the sheath was removed and hemostasis was gained either by manual compression or by an arterial closure device (4 of 42, 9%).
Results: The cervical route allowed access to all intracranial lesions in all 42 procedures. A complication was encountered in six procedures (14%) related to the direct puncture. In 2 of the 42 procedures (4%), a transient vasospasm was encountered. A cervical hematoma formed in 3 of the 42 procedures (7%) after sheath withdrawal (one patient in whom an 8F sheath had been used, required surgical evacuation of a hematoma compressing the upper airways; the other patients did well without surgical evacuation). In the remaining patient (1 of 42 procedures, 2%), a small asymptomatic aneurysm at the puncture site was seen on the follow-up angiogram.
Conclusion: Direct cervical arterial approaches to accessing the intracranial circulation is effective in patients in whom the femoral route does not allow the navigation and stabilization of guiding catheters.