Object: Few data are available on how closely stents appose the luminal vessel wall in stent-mediated coil embolization of intracranial aneurysms and on the effect of incomplete stent apposition on procedural thromboembolic complications.
Methods: Postprocedural 3-T MR diffusion-weighted imaging and time-of-flight angiography were obtained in 58 patients undergoing stent-mediated coil embolization of aneurysms using the Enterprise closed-cell and Neuroform open-cell self-expanding intracranial microstents.
Results: A distinctive semilunar signal pattern, identified using 3-T MR angiography, represented flow outside the confines of the stent struts in patients in whom Enterprise but not Neuroform devices were used. This pattern, designated as the crescent sign, was confirmed to correspond to incomplete stent apposition by use of high-resolution angiographic flat-panel CT scanning revealing flow ingress into and egress out of the isolated luminal wedge. The presence of the crescent sign was seen in 18 of 33 Enterprise-treated but in 0 of 25 Neuroform-treated cases, and was more likely in stents delivered in the tortuous internal carotid artery (p = 0.034). The crescent sign was strongly predictive of ipsilateral postprocedural lesions seen on diffusion-weighted imaging in the entire population (OR 18, 95% CI 4.33-74.8; p < 0.0001). In the Enterprise stent subset, ipsilateral lesions were detected on diffusion-weighted imaging in 15 (45%) of 33 cases; the crescent sign was seen in 12 (80%) of 15 patients with ipsilateral lesions on diffusion-weighted imaging, but in only 6 of 18 patients without lesions (OR 8, 95% CI 1.61-39.6; p = 0.006).
Conclusions: Incomplete stent apposition is detectable on 3-T MR angiography as a crescent sign, and was found to be highly prevalent in Enterprise closed-cell design stents used to assist coil embolization of aneurysms. Incomplete stent apposition was also associated with periprocedural ipsilateral hyperintense lesions on diffusion-weighted imaging. These results identify an association between incomplete stent apposition and thromboembolic complications in stent-mediated coil embolization of intracranial aneurysms.