Introduction: Treatment of complex anterior circulation aneurysms with flow diverters (FDs) has become common practice in neurovascular centers. However, this treatment method for posterior circulation aneurysms (PCAs) still remains controversial.
Methods: Through searches for reports on the treatment of PCAs with FDs, we conducted a systematic review of the literature on its clinical efficacy and safety using random-effect binomial meta-analysis.
Results: We included 14 studies, which reported on a total of 225 PCAs in 220 patients. Procedure-related good outcome rate was 79% (95% confidence interval (CI), 72-84), with significantly lower odds among patients with ruptured aneurysms and basilar artery aneurysms. Procedure-related mortality rate was 15% (95% CI 10-21), with significantly higher rates among patients with giant aneurysms and basilar artery aneurysms. The rate of complete aneurysm occlusion at 6-month digital subtraction angiography (DSA) was 84%. Ischemic stroke rate was 11%. Perforator infarction rate was 7%. Postoperative subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) rate was 3%. Intraparenchymal hemorrhage (IPH) rate was 4%.
Conclusions: Flow diverter treatment of PCAs is an effective method, which provides a high rate of complete occlusion at 6-month DSA. However, compared with anterior circulation aneurysms, patients with PCAs are at significantly higher risk of mortality, ischemic stroke and perforator infarction. Our findings indicate that, in most clinical centers, flow diverter treatment of PCAs should be conducted in carefully selected patients with poor natural history and no optimal treatment strategy. For ruptured and giant basilar artery aneurysms, there is still no good treatment option.
Keywords: Endovascular treatment; Flow diverters; Interventional neuroradiology; Posterior circulation aneurysms.