Flow diversion with the pipeline embolization device for patients with intracranial aneurysms and antiplatelet therapy: A systematic literature review

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2017 Oct;161:78-87. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2017.08.003. Epub 2017 Aug 18.


Flow diversion with the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) is reported as a safe and efficient treatment for patients with intracranial aneurysms; however, literature discussing the antiplatelet (APT) regimen used before and after the PED is limited. Our aim was to systematically review and summarize available data regarding the APT regimen and the platelet function test (PFT) that was used. We also sought to provide an overview of the aneurysm morphologies and adverse event rates associated with the PED use. This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA statement and eligible studies were identified through search of the PubMed and Cochrane databases. We reviewed 28 studies, involving 1556 patients that underwent aneurysm treatment with the PED. The preprocedural aspirin (ASA) 300- 325mg (2-14days) combined with clopidogrel 75mg (3 to >10days) were used as a treatment strategy in 61.7% of patients and ASA 81mg with clopidogrel 75mg for 5-10days for 27%. Patients who received low versus high dose pre-PED ASA, were at less risk for a hemorrhagic event (0.7% versus 3.3%, p=0.053); however no statistical significance was reached. There was also lack of relationship between patients that received low versus high preprocedural ASA in terms of thromboembolic events. Regarding postprocedural APT, ASA (>6months) and clopidogrel (3- 12 months) was the regimen of choice for 93% of patients. Most studies conducted at least one PFT, most common being the VerifyNow. The most frequently reported target P2Y12 Reaction unit (PRU) and Aspirin Reaction Unit (ARU) values were <230 and <550 respectively. There was no statistically demonstrable difference in regards to thrombotic events between centers that conducted at least one PFT and centers that did not test their patients with a PFT. The overall rates of symptomatic thrombotic episodes were 6.6% and hemorrhagic were 3%. The pre- and post-PED APT dose and duration varies across different institutions. More prospective studies are needed to compare the efficacy of different APT agents and reach conclusions regarding use of PFT and platelet reaction values in order to decrease hemorrhagic and thromboembolic complications associated with the PED.

Keywords: Antiplatelet therapy; Aspirin; Flow diverter; Intracranial aneurysms; Pipeline embolization device.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / instrumentation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / drug therapy
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors