Thromboembolic complications of elective coil embolization of unruptured aneurysms: the effect of oral antiplatelet preparation on periprocedural thromboembolic complication

Neurosurgery. 2010 Sep;67(3):743-8; discussion 748. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000374770.09140.FB.


Objective: We retrospectively evaluated whether antiplatelet preparation lowered the thromboembolic complication rate during the perioperative period.

Methods: We reviewed 328 elective coil embolization procedures in which only microcatheters were used for coiling. No antiplatelet medication was prescribed before the procedure in 95 cases (29%, group 1), whereas antiplatelet therapy was used in 233 cases (71%, group 2; 61 [18.6%] with a single agent [aspirin or clopidogrel] and 172 [52.4%] with both agents). Antiplatelet agents were not given after coiling unless atherosclerosis, severe coil protrusion, or a thromboembolic complication occurred during the procedure. A thromboembolic complication was defined as a procedural thromboembolic event or transient ischemic attack or stroke occurring within 2 days of embolization.

Results: Thromboembolic complications occurred in 11 cases (3.4%): 6 (6.3%) in group 1 and 5 (2.1%) in group 2 (P = .085). In 195 cases (59.5%) treated by the single microcatheter technique, the risk of thromboembolic complications was low and not affected by antiplatelet preparation (1.8% [no preparation] vs 2.2% [preparation]; P = 1.000). However, in 133 cases (40.5%) treated by the multiple microcatheter technique, antiplatelet preparation significantly reduced the thromboembolic complication risk by 85.2% (12.8% [no preparation] vs 2.1% [preparation]; odds ratio, 0.148; 95% confidence interval, 0.027-0.798; P = .023). The aneurysms treated by the multiple microcatheter technique had more complex configurations for coiling (P < .001). The risk of hemorrhage was not increased by antiplatelet preparation (P = .171).

Conclusion: Antiplatelet preparation lowered the periprocedural thromboembolic complication rate in unruptured aneurysms treated by the multiple microcatheter technique and did not increase the risk of hemorrhage. Therefore, antiplatelet preparation can help to reduce complications in patients in whom technical difficulties are expected without the risk of hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / instrumentation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy*
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thromboembolism / drug therapy*
  • Thromboembolism / physiopathology
  • Thromboembolism / prevention & control


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors