Non-compliant and compliant balloons for endovascular rescue therapy of cerebral vasospasm after spontaneous subarachnoid haemorrhage: experiences of a single-centre institution with radiological follow-up of the treated vessel segments

Background

For endovascular rescue therapy (ERT) of cerebral vasospasm (CVS) due to spontaneous subarachnoid haemorrhage (sSAH), non-compliant (NCB) and compliant (CB) balloons are used with both balloon types bearing the risk of vessel injury due to specific mechanical properties. Although severe delayed arterial narrowing after transluminal balloon angioplasty (TBA) for CVS has sporadically been described, valid data concerning incidence and relevance are missing. Our aim was to analyse the radiological follow-up (RFU) of differently TBA-treated arteries (CB or NCB).

Methods

Twelve patients with utilisation of either NCB or CB for CVS were retrospectively analysed for clinical characteristics, ERT, functional outcome after 3 months and RFU. Compared with the initial angiogram, we classified delayed arterial narrowing as mild, moderate and severe (60% calibre reduction).

Results

Twenty-three arteries were treated with CB, seven with NCB. The median first RFU was 11 months after TBA with CB and 10 after NCB. RFU was performed with catheter angiography in 18 arteries (78%) treated with CB and in five (71%) after NCB; magnetic resonance angiography was acquired in five vessels (22%) treated with CB and in two (29%) after NCB. Mild arterial narrowing was detected in three arteries (13%) after CB and in one (14%) after NCB. Moderate or severe findings were neither detected after use of CB nor NCB.

Conclusion

We found no relevant delayed arterial narrowing after TBA for CVS after sSAH. Despite previous assumptions that CB provides for more dilatation in segments adjacent to CVS, we observed no disadvantages concerning long-term adverse effects. Our data support TBA as a low-risk treatment option.

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