We reviewed the incidence, risk factors, and clinical features of thromboembolic and ischemic events associated with diagnostic cerebral angiography, endovascular treatment of aneurysms using coils or balloons, angioplasty and stent placement to treat extracranial carotid artery stenosis, and embolization of arteriovenous malformations using glue or other embolic agents. We performed a cumulative analysis to determine the frequency and characteristics of these events and a subset analysis (whenever possible) to determine the benefits of various strategies for complication avoidance. Of the 1547 patients who underwent Guglielmi detachable coil treatment, thromboembolic events were observed for 127 (8.2%), consisting of asymptomatic events for 12 patients, transient ischemic attacks for 29, and strokes for 86. The outcomes for the 86 patients with strokes were categorized as full recovery for 15, good recovery for 27, partial recovery for 19, no recovery for 11, death for 12, and undetermined outcome for 2. Of the 834 patients who underwent carotid angioplasty and stent placement, thromboembolic events were observed for 73 (8.8%), consisting of transient ischemic attacks for 26 patients and strokes for 47. The outcomes for the patients with strokes were categorized as full recovery for 20, good recovery for 15, partial recovery for 6, no recovery for 2, and death for 4. High rates of thromboembolic events were also observed with balloon occlusion of aneurysms (11%) or parent arteries (19%) and carotid angioplasty alone (5.9%). Arteriovenous malformation embolization was associated with an ischemic event/procedure rate of 9.4%. High rates of thromboembolic and ischemic complications, with subsequent morbidity and death, are associated with most endovascular procedures. Further research and the formulation of standard preventive guidelines may help to reduce these risks and improve the overall success of these procedures.
Department of Neurosurgery and Toshiba Stroke Research Center, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Received, June 24, 1999.
Accepted, October 11, 1999.