Objective: Although the rabbit elastase-induced aneurysm model is currently used widely for endovascular research and device testing, procedural causes leading to animal morbidity and mortality have not yet been clearly described. We conducted a retrospective study to analyse factors contributing to neurological deficits in rabbits that underwent the elastase-induced aneurysm creation procedure at our research center from 2002 to 2005 in order to improve the technique and reduce procedure-related morbidity and mortality.
Methods: A total sample of 38 animals that underwent the procedure under the same conditions was analysed in two groups: animals that presented neurological deficits (ND, n=15) and animals that were neurological deficit free (NDF, n=23). Data were collected by reviewing the animal records and radiographic images from the procedures. Statistical analyses using the Mann-Whitney test, unpaired t-test with Welch correction and Fisher's exact tests were performed to compare the two groups based on variables associated with endothelial injury and activation of the coagulation cascade.
Results: The variables of animal weight (signifying state of health of the animal), total procedure time, total balloon occlusion time and clot formation were found to be significantly and/or very significantly correlated to ND presentation.
Discussion: Successful creation of the rabbit elastase-induced aneurysm model depends on careful control over several technical details. Important variables governing outcome have been identified here. A specific, improved endovascular arrangement that facilitates maneuvering of the devices and reduces the risk of air emboli is presented.