Pipeline for Distal Cerebral Circulation Aneurysms

Neurosurgery. 2019 Sep 1;85(3):E477-E484. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyz038.


Background: Pipeline embolization device (PED; Medtronic, Dublin, Ireland) utilization is not limited to the treatment of giant wide-necked aneurysms. It has been expanded to handle small blisters, fusiforms, and dissecting intracranial aneurysms.

Objective: To report the use of the PED in various off-label distal cerebral circulation (DCC) arteries with a follow-up to assess clinical outcomes.

Methods: Between 2011 and 2016, of 437 consecutive patients, 23 patients with aneurysms located in DCCs were treated with PED. Data on patient presentation, aneurysm characteristics, procedural outcomes, postoperative course, and aneurysm occlusion were gathered. To control confounding, we used multivariable logistic regression and propensity score conditioning.

Results: A total of 437 patients (mean age 52.12 years; 62 women [14.2%]) underwent treatment with PED in our institution. Twenty-three of 437 (5.2%) received a pipeline in a distal artery: 11/23 middle cerebral artery, 6/23 posterior cerebral artery, 3/23 anterior cerebral artery (A1/A2, pericallosal artery), and 3/23 posterior inferior cerebellar artery. Twenty percent of the aneurysms were treated in the past, 10% had previously ruptured, and 5.9% ruptured at presentation to our hospital. The mean aneurysm size was 9.0 ± 6 mm. The mean follow-up was 12 mo (SD = 12.5). In multivariable logistic regression, no associations were found between PED deployment in DCCs and aneurysm occlusion or thromboembolic complications. PED use in DCC was associated with a good clinical outcome. Twenty-two people of 23 (95%) had a good clinical outcome in the latest follow-up.

Conclusion: Treatment of DCC aneurysms with PED is technically challenging mainly because of the small caliber and tortuosity of the parent arteries. The results of this study further support the safety of flow diverters in the treatment of various distal aneurysms.

Keywords: Distal Circulation; Flow Diversion; Pipeline.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anterior Cerebral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / instrumentation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posterior Cerebral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome