OBJECTIVE The long-term effectiveness of endovascular treatment of large and giant wide-neck aneurysms using traditional endovascular techniques has been disappointing, with high recanalization and re-treatment rates. Flow diversion with the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) has been recently used as a stand-alone therapy for complex aneurysms, showing significant improvement in effectiveness while demonstrating a similar safety profile to stent-supported coil treatment. However, relatively little is known about its long-term safety and effectiveness. Here the authors report on the 3-year safety and effectiveness of flow diversion with the PED in a prospective cohort of patients with large and giant internal carotid artery aneurysms enrolled in the Pipeline for Uncoilable or Failed Aneurysms (PUFS) trial. METHODS The PUFS trial is a prospective study of 107 patients with 109 aneurysms treated with the PED. Primary effectiveness and safety end points were demonstrated based on independently monitored 180-day clinical and angiographic data. Patients were enrolled in a long-term follow-up protocol including 1-, 3-, and 5-year clinical and imaging follow-up. In this paper, the authors report the midstudy (3-year) effectiveness and safety data. RESULTS At 3 years posttreatment, 74 subjects with 76 aneurysms underwent catheter angiography as required per protocol. Overall, complete angiographic aneurysm occlusion was observed in 71 of these 76 aneurysms (93.4% cure rate). Five aneurysms were re-treated, using either coils or additional PEDs, for failure to occlude, and 3 of these 5 were cured by the 3-year follow-up. Angiographic cure with one or two treatments of Pipeline embolization alone was therefore achieved in 92.1%. No recanalization of a previously completely occluded aneurysm was noted on the 3-year angiograms. There were 3 (2.6%) delayed device- or aneurysm-related serious adverse events, none of which led to permanent neurological sequelae. No major or minor late-onset hemorrhagic or ischemic cerebrovascular events or neurological deaths were observed in the 6-month through 3-year posttreatment period. Among 103 surviving patients, 85 underwent functional outcome assessment in which modified Rankin Scale scores of 0-1 were demonstrated in 80 subjects. CONCLUSIONS Pipeline embolization is safe and effective in the treatment of complex large and giant aneurysms of the intracranial internal carotid artery. Unlike more traditional endovascular treatments, flow diversion results in progressive vascular remodeling that leads to complete aneurysm obliteration over longer-term follow-up without delayed aneurysm recanalization and/or growth. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00777088 (clinicaltrials.gov).
Keywords: CEC = clinical events committee; CRL = core radiology laboratory; CTA = CT angiography; DSA = digital subtraction angiography; ICA = internal carotid artery; MRA = MR angiography; PED = Pipeline Embolization Device; PITA = Pipeline Embolization Device for the Intracranial Treatment of Aneurysms; PUFS = Pipeline for Uncoilable or Failed Aneurysms; Pipeline Embolization Device; cerebral aneurysm; flow diversion; giant; mRS = modified Rankin Scale; vascular disorders.