Introduction: Cerebral angiography performed after aneurysm surgery can identify causes of morbidity and mortality that may be corrected. The risks and benefits of angiography that is performed after aneurysm surgery, however, have not been clearly defined. We therefore reviewed our experience with postoperative angiography to determine its dangers and benefits.
Methods: During 10 years, 543 consecutive patients received treatment for cerebral aneurysms. A retrospective analysis of 597 diagnostic angiograms obtained after aneurysm surgery for 494 of these patients was performed.
Results: Catheter-induced vessel spasm and dissection, occurring most frequently in the internal carotid artery, were observed in seven (1.2%) and six (1%) studies, respectively. No angiography-associated strokes were identified. No association between age, smoking, hypertension, blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or severe vasospasm and angiographic complications was observed. Aneurysm remnants were identified in 36 (5.7%) of the 637 aneurysms that were surgically treated. Atherosclerosis (P < 0.01) or multiple clip applications (P < 0.01) were significantly associated with aneurysm remnants. Angiographic vessel occlusion was observed in 28 (5.7%) patients and resulted in stroke in 14 of these patients. Vessel occlusion was significantly associated with increasing aneurysm size (P < 0.001), atherosclerosis (P < 0.001), temporary clips (P < 0.001), multiple clips (P=0.03), multiple clip applications (P=0.001), and a new postoperative neurological deficit (P=0.002). Severe vasospasm and newly identified aneurysms were observed in 51 and 16 patients, respectively.
Conclusion: Angiography after aneurysm surgery is safe and can be routinely performed. Angiography after aneurysm surgery should be particularly considered for patients with large aneurysms or cerebrovascular atherosclerosis and for those who develop new postoperative neurological deficits.