Efficacy and Safety of Willis Covered Stent for Treatment of Complex Vascular Diseases of the Internal Carotid Artery

Ann Vasc Surg. 2019 Nov:61:203-211. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2019.05.027. Epub 2019 Aug 2.


Background: Willis covered stents are used in clinical practice for some complex cerebrovascular diseases. However, the performance of the Willis covered stent requires further investigation. In this study, we investigate the safety and efficacy of Willis covered stents for the treatment of complex vascular diseases of the internal carotid artery (ICA).

Methods: Thirteen patients with complex ICA diseases treated with the Willis covered stent system at our institution from October 2016 to January 2018 were analyzed retrospectively. Follow-up observation and digital subtraction angiography (DSA) examination were conducted at about 6-10 months after the treatment.

Results: The complex vascular diseases of the ICA were successfully treated in 12 patients. The technical success rate was 92.3%. Pathologically, 13 lesions included blood blister-like aneurysm (n = 7), traumatic pseudoaneurysm (n = 1), traumatic carotid artery rupture (n = 1), and aneurysm with arteriovenous fistula (n = 4). Thirteen patients with complex vascular diseases of the ICA were treated with 15 Willis covered stents. The release sites of Willis covered stents were the C7 (n = 2), C6 (n = 1), C5 and/or C4 (n = 9), and the C2 (n = 3) segment of the ICA. DSA performed immediately after stent deployment revealed that complete occlusion of the lesion was achieved in 11 patients and endoleak was observed in 2 patients. Of the 11 patients, postoperative DSA examination indicated that the lesions were occluded completely. Among 2 patients, who had a second stent implantation at the break of the ICA, the traumatic ICA rupture was essentially completely obstructed in 1 patient. The endoleak remained in 1 patient with carotid cavernous sinus fistula because the placement of the second stent system was difficult with his ICA tortuosity. No recurrence of aneurysms, hemorrhagia, and other lesions was observed, and the patients' parent arteries were patent without stenosis. No procedure-related complications or deaths occurred during follow-up.

Conclusions: For the treatment of complex vascular diseases in the ICA, Willis covered stent implantation is safe and effective. However, longer follow-up, large-sample controlled studies, and multicenter studies are needed for further confirmation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / physiopathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / therapy*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / physiopathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Circle of Willis / diagnostic imaging
  • Circle of Willis / physiopathology*
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects
  • Endovascular Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult