Introduction: We present a catheter technique that utilizes a 5F system for the purpose of balloon-assisted coiling in the setting of intracranial aneurysms.
Methods: A standard 5F short sheath is placed in the common femoral artery, and a 5F diagnostic catheter is placed through the sheath and used for selective vessel angiography. When endovascular intervention is pursued, the diagnostic catheter is placed in the appropriate vessel and systemic heparinization is ensured. Over an exchange length wire, the 5F vertebral catheter and 5F short sheath are exchanged for a 5F Shuttle (Cook) sheath. We then routinely place a 10, 14 or 18 microcatheter over an appropriately gauged microguidewire into the aneurysm. As needed, balloon catheters are then placed across the neck of the aneurysm for remodeling purposes. During the course of the procedure, control angiography is performed through the Shuttle sheath. Following the placement of coils, the microcatheter and balloon catheter are removed and a final biplane image is obtained via the 5F Shuttle sheath.
Results: This technique has been employed in 15 patients who required balloon-assisted coiling of an intracranial aneurysm. There were no technical difficulties or arterial access site complications from the procedures. Catheter mobility and torque were not affected, nor was the quality of our imaging.
Conclusion: We conclude that this small-diameter system provides ample "room" for catheter placement and interventional treatment while reducing the known risks of postprocedural complications. Angiographic images remain excellent and are comparable to those obtained by larger catheters.