Background Different endovascular modalities have been applied to the treatment of vertebral artery dissecting aneurysms, the most commonly used being internal trapping and stent-assisted coiling, although the ideal treatment remains controversial.
Objective To perform a meta-analysis to study clinical outcomes of patients with vertebral artery dissecting aneurysms who were treated with internal trapping or stent-assisted coiling.
Materials and methods We conducted a meta-analysis of eight retrospective studies that compared internal trapping with stent-assisted coiling for the treatment of vertebral artery dissecting aneurysms. The primary outcomes of this study were immediate occlusion, long-term occlusion, good outcome ratio, perioperative mortality, and angiographic recurrence. Subgroup analyses were conducted of patients with ruptured versus unruptured vertebral artery dissecting aneurysms.
Results Eight studies comprising a total of 188 patients were included in the analysis. For ruptured cases, in comparison with stent-assisted coiling groups, the patients treated with trapping techniques had a higher rate of immediate postoperative occlusion (OR=0.165; 95% CI 0.067 to 0.405; p<0.01), although there was no significant difference in long-term occlusion (OR=1.059; 95% CI 0.033 to 34.121; p=0.974), good clinical outcome rates, recurrence rates, and perioperative mortality. For unruptured cases, patients in the trapping groups also had higher immediate occlusion rates than those who underwent stent-assisted coiling (OR=0.175; 95% CI 0.043 to 0.709; p=0.015), while rates of both recurrence and good clinical outcome were similar between the two groups.
Conclusions Both internal trapping and stent-assisted coiling are technically feasible for ruptured vertebral artery dissecting aneurysms, with high rates of good long-term neurologic outcomes and low recurrence and mortality rates. For unruptured aneurysms, conservative treatment is recommended. When a posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) origin is involved, bypass surgery or vertebral artery-to-PICA stent placement plus coil embolization should be considered.
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