Dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) associating aspirin + clopidogrel is commonly utilized in neurovascular interventions despite unpredictable clopidogrel efficacy with 4% to 50% of patients considered nonresponders. Ticagrelor is an antiplatelet agent with low resistance rates but unknown efficacy and safety in neurovascular patients.
To evaluate frequency of ischemic and hemorrhagic events in patients treated with aspirin and ticagrelor when associated with perioperative heparin bolus for unruptured aneurysms treated with intracranial stents.
One hundred fifty-four consecutive patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms treated by stent procedures (113 = flow diverter stent [FDS], 41 = stent-assisted coiling) were retrospectively analyzed. All patients received aspirin and ticagrelor without platelet function testing. Patients were separated in 2 groups following perioperative heparin dose: group I = 70 U/kg; group II = 50 U/kg. FDS versus stent-assisted coiling procedures were also separately analyzed.
Nine patients (5.8%) presented symptomatic neurological complications poststenting (3 ischemic, 6 hemorrhagic): 8 patients received 70 U/kg of heparin (11.1%) and 1 patient received 50 U/kg (1.2%; P < .009). Four patients died (2.6%) during the 3-mo follow-up period—all deaths were correlated to intracranial hemorrhage: 3 at group I and 1 at group II (P < .251). No difference in complications or death was observed considering separately FDS and stent-assisted coiling procedures.
This study did not find more neurological complications than in previous neurointerventional reports using DAPT with aspirin + ticagrelor or aspirin + clopidogrel. Overall number of neurological complications was lower when a lower dose of heparin was administered. Neurovascular studies comparing clopidogrel to ticagrelor and different doses of heparin are necessary to demonstrate which association is more efficient with lower complication rates.