Management of Intracranial Aneurysms that Do Not Occlude on Initial Follow-up After Treatment With the Pipeline Embolization Device

Neurosurgery 94:271–277, 2024

The pipeline embolization device (PED) has become widely accepted as a safe and efficacious treatment for intracranial aneurysms with high rates of complete occlusion at initial follow-up. For aneurysms that are not completely occluded at initial follow-up, further treatment decision-making is varied. Furthermore, the risk of aneurysmal rupture in these incompletely occluded aneurysms after PED is not known. The objective of this study was to determine treatment decision-making that results in increased occlusion status at final follow-up and to evaluate risk of rupture in those aneurysms that do not go onto occlusion.

METHODS: This study is a retrospective review of prospective data for intracranial aneurysms treated with PED at two institutions from 2013 to 2019. Aneurysms with near-complete or incomplete occlusion at initial follow-up were included in the statistical analysis.

RESULTS: There were 606 total aneurysms treated at two academic institutions with PED with incomplete occlusion at initial follow-up in 134 aneurysms (22.1%). Of the 134 aneurysms that were nonoccluded at initial follow-up, 76 aneurysms (56.7%) went on to complete or near complete occlusion with final complete or near complete occlusion in 90.4% of all aneurysms treated. The time to final imaging follow-up was 28.2 months (13.8-44.3) Retreatment with a second flow diverter was used in 28 aneurysms (20.9%). No aneurysms that were incompletely occluded at initial follow-up had delayed rupture. Furthermore, older patient age was statistically significant for incomplete occlusion at initial follow-up (P = .05).

CONCLUSION: Intracranial aneurysms treated with the PED that do not occlude at initial follow-up may go on to complete occlusion with continuous observation, alteration in antiplatelet regimens, or repeat treatment. Delayed aneurysmal rupture was not seen in patients with incomplete occlusion.