Microsurgical versus endovascular interventions for blood-blister aneurysms of the internal carotid artery: Systematic review of literature and meta-analysis on safety and efficacy

Sumedh S. Shah, Zachary C. Gersey, Mohamed Nuh, Hesham T. Ghonim, Mohamed Elhammady, Eric Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Blood-blister aneurysms (BBAs) of the internal carotid artery (ICA) have a poor natural history associated with high morbidity and mortality. Currently, both surgical and endovascular techniques are employed to treat BBAs; thus, the authors sought to perform a meta-analysis to compare the efficacy and safety of these approaches. METHODS A literature search of PubMed, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar online databases was performed to include pertinent English-language studies from 2005 to 2015 that discussed the efficacy and safety of either surgical or endovascular therapies to treat BBAs. RESULTS Thirty-six papers describing 256 patients with BBAs treated endovascularly (122 procedures) or surgically (139 procedures) were examined for data related to therapeutic efficacy and safety. Pooled analysis of 9 papers demonstrated immediate and late (mean 20.9 months) aneurysm occlusion rates of 88.9% (95% CI 77.6%-94.8%) and 88.4% (95% CI 76.7%-94.6%), respectively, in surgically treated patients. Pooled analysis of 12 papers revealed immediate and late aneurysm obliteration rates of 63.9% (95% CI 52.3%-74.1%) and 75.9% (95% CI 65.9%-83.7%), respectively, in endovascularly treated aneurysms. Procedure-related complications and overall poor neurological outcomes were slightly greater in the surgically treated cases than in the endovascularly treated cases (27.8% [95% CI 19.6%-37.8%] vs 26.2% [95% CI 18.4%-35.8%]), indicating that endovascular therapy may provide better outcomes. CONCLUSIONS Blood-blister aneurysms are rare, challenging lesions with a poor prognosis. Although surgical management potentially offers superior aneurysm obliteration rates immediately after treatment and at the long-term follow-up, endovascular therapy may have a better safety profile and provide better functional outcomes than surgery. A registry of patients treated for BBAs may be warranted to better document the natural course of the disease as well as treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1361-1363
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017



  • Aneurysm
  • Blood-blister aneurysm
  • Endovascular
  • Internal carotid artery
  • Meta-analysis
  • Microsurgical technique
  • Vascular disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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