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Endovascular treatment of vertebral artery dissecting aneurysms : a 20-year institutional experience
  1. Joshua S Catapano,
  2. Andrew F Ducruet,
  3. Megan S Cadigan,
  4. Dara S Farhadi,
  5. Neil Majmundar,
  6. Candice L Nguyen,
  7. Jacob F Baranoski,
  8. Tyler S Cole,
  9. D Andrew Wilkinson,
  10. Vance L Fredrickson,
  11. Visish M Srinivasan,
  12. Felipe C Albuquerque
  1. Department of Neurosurgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Felipe C Albuquerque, Department of Neurosurgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ 85013-4409, USA; neuropub{at}


Background The ideal treatment for unruptured vertebral artery dissecting aneurysms (VADAs) and ruptured dominant VADAs remains controversial. We report our experience in the management and endovascular treatment of patients with VADAs.

Methods Patients treated endovascularly for intradural VADAs at a single institution from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2019, were retrospectively reviewed. Primary neurological outcomes were assessed using modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores, with mRS >2 considered a poor neurological outcome. Additionally, any worsening (increase) in the mRS score from the preoperative neurological examination was considered a poor outcome.

Results Ninety-one patients of mean (SD) age 53 (11.6) years (48 (53%) men) underwent endovascular treatment for VADAs. Fifty-four patients (59%) presented with ruptured VADAs and 44 VADAs (48%) involved the dominant vertebral artery. Forty-seven patients (51%) were treated with vessel sacrifice of the parent artery, 29 (32%) with flow diversion devices (FDDs), and 15 (17%) with stent-assisted coil embolization (stent/coil). Rates of procedural complications and retreatment were significantly higher with stent/coil treatment (complications 4/15; retreatment 6/15) than with vessel sacrifice (complications 1/47; retreatment 2/47) or FDD (complications 2/29; retreatment 4/29) (p=0.008 and p=0.002, respectively). Of 37 patients with unruptured VADAs treated, only two (5%) had mRS scores >2 on follow-up.

Conclusion Endovascular FDD treatment of VADAs appears to be associated with lower retreatment and complication rates than stenting/coiling, although further study is required for confirmation. Endovascular treatment of unruptured VADAs was safe and was associated with favorable angiographic and neurological outcomes.

  • aneurysm
  • flow diverter
  • stent
  • coil

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Data availability statement

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  • Contributors All authors made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content; and provided final approval of the version to be published; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AFD is a consultant for Cerenovus, Penumbra, Stryker, Medtronic, and Koswire. FCA is the editor of the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.