Comparison of endovascular and microsurgical management of 208 basilar apex aneurysms

J Neurosurg 127:1342–1352, 2017

The deep and difficult-to-reach location of basilar apex aneurysms, along with their location near critical adjacent perforating arteries, has rendered the perception that microsurgical treatment of these aneurysms is risky. As a result, these aneurysms are considered more suitable for treatment by endovascular intervention. The authors attempt to compare the immediate and long-term outcomes of microsurgery versus endovascular therapy for this aneurysm subtype.

METHODS A prospectively maintained database of 208 consecutive patients treated for basilar apex aneurysms between 2000 and 2012 was reviewed. In this group, 161 patients underwent endovascular treatment and 47 were managed microsurgically. The corresponding records were analyzed for presenting characteristics, postoperative complications, discharge status, and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores up to 1 year after treatment and compared using chi-square and Student t-tests.

RESULTS Among these 208 aneurysms, 116 (56%) were ruptured, including 92 (57%) and 24 (51%) of the endovascularly and microsurgically managed aneurysms, respectively. The average Hunt and Hess grade was 2.4 (2.4 in the endovascular group and 2.2 in the microsurgical group; p = 0.472). Postoperative complications of cranial nerve deficits and hemiparesis were more common in patients treated microsurgically than endovascularly (55.3% vs 16.2%, p < 0.05; and 27.7% vs 10.6%, p < 0.05, respectively). However, aneurysm remnants and need for retreatment were more common in the endovascular than the microsurgical group (41.3% vs 2.3%, p < 0.05; and 10.6% vs 0.0%, p < 0.05, respectively). Stent placement significantly reduced the need for retreatment. Rehemorrhage rates and average GOS score at discharge and 1 year after treatment were not statistically different between the two treatment groups.

CONCLUSIONS Patients with basilar apex aneurysms were significantly more likely to be treated via endovascular management, but compared with those treated microsurgically, they had higher rates of recurrence and need for retreatment. The current study did not detect an overall difference in outcomes at discharge and 1 year after either treatment modality. Therefore, in a select group of patients, microsurgical treatment continues to play an important role.

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