Clinical and angiographic outcomes in patients with intracranial aneurysms treated with the pipeline embolization device: intra-procedural technical difficulties, major morbidity, and neurological mortality decrease significantly with increased operator experience in device deployment and patient management

Neuroradiology. 2017 Dec;59(12):1291-1299. doi: 10.1007/s00234-017-1930-z. Epub 2017 Oct 6.


Purpose: Flow diversion constitutes a pivotal advancement in endovascular intracranial aneurysm treatment, but requires development of a new skill set. The aim of this study is to determine whether outcomes after treatment with the Pipeline Embolization Device improve with experience.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all patients with intracranial aneurysms treated with Pipeline at two centers over a 4.5-year period. Baseline patient and aneurysm characteristics, complications, and angiographic outcomes were analyzed.

Results: One hundred forty patients underwent 150 Pipeline procedures to treat 167 intracranial aneurysms during the study period, 109 women, mean age 55.4 years. One hundred twenty-six aneurysms were ICA, mean size 10.2 mm and mean neck 6.4 mm. Intra-procedural technical difficulties were higher during the first 75 procedures compared with the subsequent 75 (13.3 vs 2.7%; p = 0.03), as combined major morbidity and neurological mortality (14.7 vs 4%; p = 0.046). In multivariate regression analysis, increased operator experience with Pipeline remained an independent predictor of intra-procedural technical difficulties (p = 0.02, odds ratio (OR) 0.015, 95% CI 0.0004-0.55) and combined major morbidity and neurological mortality (p = 0.03, OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.03-0.84). At last follow-up, 123 aneurysms were completely occluded (81.5%, mean 24 months). In our cohort, age ≤ 53 years was an independent predictor of complete aneurysm occlusion at last follow-up (p = 0.001, OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.88-0.97). Five aneurysms were retreated (3.3%).

Conclusion: The Pipeline embolization device is an effective treatment for intracranial aneurysms. The risk of intra-procedural technical difficulties and combined major morbidity and neurological mortality decreases significantly with increased operator experience in Pipeline deployment and patient management.

Keywords: Aneurysm; Flow diverter; Hemorrhage; Pipeline; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / mortality
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome