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Original research
Downstream vascular changes after flow-diverting device deployment in a rabbit model


Background Flow diverters (FDs) are increasingly used in the treatment of intracranial aneurysms, and carry the risk of thromboembolic complications, even in patients treated with dual antiplatelet therapy. The effect of FDs on the downstream vascular is unknown. The aim of the study was to investigate vascular wall pulse wave velocity (PWV) and contractility changes following FD treatment in a rabbit model.

Methods FDs (Pipeline Embolic Device, Medtronic Inc., Irvine, California, USA) were implanted in the aorta of normal rabbits and sham-operated aorta were used as controls (n=6 per group). Pulse wave imaging with ultra-fast ultrasound at 1600 frames per second (Vantage, Verasonics, Inc., Kirkland, WA) was performed in the vessel wall distal to FD prior to device implantation and at 8- week follow-up to measure the PWV. Force contraction vascular reactivity studies were conducted in the aortic rings using an organ bath.

Results The difference in mean PWV in the follow-up compared with pre-implantation was significantly higher in the distal vessels compared with sham controls (1.18 m/s [SD=0.54] vs. 0.37 m/s [SD=1.09], P=0.03). Conversely, the aortic segments distal to the FD exhibited a 55% increase in vascular contractility compared with proximal segments (P=0.002). We observed a significant positive correlation between mean PWV and mean vascular contractility.

Conclusion Implantation of FD was associated with increased PWV and vascular contractility, suggesting that FD implantation causes changes to the vascular wall. Further studies are needed to understand the clinical implication of changes in vascular PWV and contractility.

  • aneurysm
  • complication
  • flow diverter
  • vessel wall
  • hemorrhage

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