Cavernous carotid aneurysms in the era of flow diversion: a need to revisit treatment paradigms

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2014 Dec;35(12):2334-40. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A4081. Epub 2014 Aug 21.


Background and purpose: Recent techniques of endoluminal reconstruction with flow-diverting stents have not been incorporated into treatment algorithms for cavernous carotid aneurysms. This study examines the authors' institutional experience and a systematic review of the literature for outcomes and complications using the Pipeline Embolization Device in unruptured cavernous carotid aneurysms.

Materials and methods: A retrospective search for cavernous carotid aneurysms from a prospectively collected data base of aneurysms treated with the Pipeline Embolization Device at our institution was performed. Baseline demographic, clinical, and laboratory values; intrainterventional data; and data at all follow-up visits were collected. A systematic review of the literature for complication data was performed with inquiries sent when clarification of data was needed.

Results: Forty-three cavernous carotid aneurysms were included in the study. Our mean radiographic follow-up was 2.05 years. On last follow-up, 88.4% of the aneurysms treated had complete or near-complete occlusion. Aneurysm complete or near-complete occlusion rates at 6 months, 12 months, and 36 months were 81.4%, 89.7%, and 100%, respectively. Of patients with neuro-ophthalmologic deficits on presentation, 84.2% had improvement in their visual symptoms. Overall, we had a 0% mortality rate and a 2.3% major neurologic complication rate. Our systematic review of the literature yielded 227 cavernous carotid aneurysms treated with the Pipeline Embolization Device with mortality and morbidity rates of 0.4% and 3.1%, respectively.

Conclusions: Endoluminal reconstruction with flow diversion for large unruptured cavernous carotid aneurysms can yield high efficacy with low complications. Further long-term data will be helpful in assessing the durability of the cure; however, we advocate a revisiting of current management paradigms for cavernous carotid aneurysms.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiography
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / therapy*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / diagnostic imaging
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / instrumentation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies