Complications after treatment with pipeline embolization for giant distal intracranial aneurysms with or without coil embolization

Neurosurgery. 2012 Aug;71(2):E509-13; discussion E513. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318258e1f8.


Background and importance: The Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) is a flow diverter designed to treat intracranial aneurysms through endoluminal parent vessel reconstruction. The role of adjunctive coil embolization is unknown.

Clinical presentation: This report details the authors' experience with the PED in 2 patients with symptomatic, giant distal intracranial aneurysms (1 basilar artery and 1 M1 segment middle cerebral artery). Both patients had successful parent vessel reconstruction. In the first patient, the basilar artery aneurysm was treated with PEDs alone, and the patient experienced early fatal brainstem hemorrhage from aneurysm rupture. In the second patient, the M1 aneurysm was treated with 2 PEDs along with dense coil embolization, with a good initial angiographic result. This patient experienced acute thrombosis of the PED post-procedure, likely related to mass effect and thrombogenicity of the dense coil mass.

Conclusion: Flow diversion is an evolutionary step in the treatment of giant intracranial aneurysms. However, complete aneurysm occlusion occurs over a delayed period. The authors recommend placement of coils in addition to PED in the treatment of large or giant distal intracranial aneurysms in an attempt to protect the dome. However, robust packing is to be avoided because it can lead to acute PED thrombotic or compressive occlusion.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / instrumentation*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / complications
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Renal Plasma Flow, Effective
  • Stents*
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Thrombosis / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome