Complications associated with the use of flow-diverting devices for cerebral aneurysms: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Neurosurg Focus. 2017 Jun;42(6):E17. doi: 10.3171/2017.3.FOCUS16450.


OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to review the literature on the use of flow-diverting devices (FDDs) to treat intracranial aneurysms (IAs) and to investigate the safety and complications related to FDD treatment for IAs by performing a meta-analysis of published studies. METHODS A systematic electronic database search was conducted using the Springer, EBSCO, PubMed, Medline, and Cochrane databases on all accessible articles published up to January 2016, with no restriction on the publication year. Abstracts, full-text manuscripts, and the reference lists of retrieved articles were analyzed. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to pool the complication rates across studies. RESULTS Sixty studies were included, which involved retrospectively collected data on 3125 patients. The use of FDDs was associated with an overall complication rate of 17.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 13.6%-20.5%) and a low mortality rate of 2.8% (95% CI 1.2%-4.4%). The neurological morbidity rate was 4.5% (95% CI 3.2%-5.8%). No significant difference in the complication or mortality rate was observed between 2 commonly used devices (the Pipeline embolization device and the Silk flow-diverter device). A significantly higher overall complication rate was found in the case of ruptured IAs than in unruptured IA (odds ratio 2.3, 95% CI 1.2-4.3). CONCLUSIONS The use of FDDs in the treatment of IAs yielded satisfactory results with regard to complications and the mortality rate. The risk of complications should be considered when deciding on treatment with FDDs. Further studies on the mechanism underlying the occurrence of adverse events are required.

Keywords: BA = basilar artery; CI = confidence interval; FDD = flow-diverting device; IA = intracranial aneurysm; ISS = in-stent stenosis; MCA = middle cerebral artery; OR = odds ratio; PED = Pipeline embolization device; SAC = stent-assisted coiling; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage; complication; delayed rupture; flow-diverting device; intracranial aneurysm.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Endovascular Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Stents*
  • Treatment Outcome