Introduction: Flow diversion is a new approach to the endovascular treatment of intracranial aneurysms which uses a high density mesh stent to induce sac thrombosis. These devices have been designed for the treatment of complex shaped and large size aneurysms. So far published safety and efficacy data on this approach is sparse.
Material and methods: Over 8 months, standardized clinical and angiographic data were collected on 70 patients treated with a flow diverter device (SILK flow diverter (SFD)) in 18 centres worldwide. Treatment and early follow up details were audited centrally. SFDs were deployed alone in 57 (81%) or with endosaccular coils in 10 (14%) aneurysms, which included: 44 (63%) saccular, 26 (37%) fusiform shapes and 18 (26%) small, 37 (53%) large, 15 (21%) giant sizes. Treatment outcome data up to 30 days were reported for all patients, with clinical (50 patients) and imaging (49 patients) follow up (median 119 days) data available.
Results: Difficulties in SFD deployment were reported in 15 (21%) and parent artery thrombosis in 8 (11%) procedures. Procedural complications caused stroke in 1 and serious extracranial bleeding in 3 patients; 2 of whom developed fatal pneumonias. Delayed worsening of symptoms occurred in 5 patients (3 transient, 1 permanent neurological deficit, and 1 death) and fatal aneurysm bleeding in 1 patient. Overall permanent morbidity rates were 2 (4%) and mortality 4 (8%). Statistical analysis revealed no significant association between complications and variables related to treated aneurysm morphology or rupture status.
Conclusion: This series is the largest reporting outcome of the new treatment approach and provides data for future study design. Procedural difficulties in SFD deployment were frequent and anti-thrombosis prophylaxis appears to reduce the resulting clinical sequelae, but at the cost of morbidity due to extracranial bleeding. Delayed morbidity appears to be a consequence of the new approach and warrants care in selecting patients for treatment and future larger studies.