Background Most cervical dissections are treated with anticoagulation or antiplatelet agents with very good results; however, some patients may benefit from endovascular intervention. High cervical and skull base dissections are often more challenging to treat because of the distal location and tortuous anatomy. The Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) may be a reasonable treatment option for this indication.
Objectives To report a case series of patients treated with the PED for high cervical and skull base dissections, focusing on their presentation, indications for treatment, dissection revascularization success, and pseudoaneurysm obliteration evaluated by imaging, and to review available pertinent literature.
Methods We retrospectively reviewed all cases of high cervical and skull base dissections treated with a PED at our institution. Patient clinical characteristics, presentation, procedural and follow-up imaging, and clinical course were analyzed to evaluate for procedure complications, dissection revascularization success, pseudoaneurysm obliteration, and clinical outcome.
Results This is a retrospective case series including 11 patients with 13 carotid dissections treated in our center. There were nine traumatic and four spontaneous dissections. The most common presentation was cerebrovascular accident/transient ischemic attack (CVA/TIA; 5 patients) and headache/face pain (4 patients). Eleven dissections were associated with pseudoaneurysms. Three patients failed medical management with anticoagulation, although flow-limiting stenosis was the main indication for endovascular intervention. Up to three PEDs per vessel were deployed. Angioplasty was used in 10 cases. Complete revascularization (<10% residual stenosis) was achieved in 91% of vessels and 50% of pseudoaneurysms were completely or near completely obliterated immediately after PED(s) deployment. Proximal iatrogenic dissection was the only intraoperative complication. Follow-up imaging was available for nine treated vessels and demonstrated patent PEDs without significant in-stent stenosis up to 9 months after intervention. 75% of pseudoaneurysms were completely obliterated at follow-up. One PED partially collapsed but had no neurological consequences. There were no new CVA/TIAs.
Conclusions Our initial experience with treatment of high cervical and skull base dissections with the PED appears to show that this technique may be a safe and viable treatment option. However, long-term results are needed to fully evaluate the efficacy of such treatment.
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