Complications in Endovascular Neurosurgery: Critical Analysis and Classification

Vijay M. Ravindra, Marcus D. Mazur, Min S. Park, Craig Kilburg, Christopher J. Moran, Rulon L. Hardman, William T. Couldwell, Philipp Taussky

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Background Precisely defining complications, which are used to measure overall quality, is necessary for critical review of delivery of care and quality improvement in endovascular neurosurgery, which lacks common definitions for complications. Furthermore, in endovascular interventions, events that may be labeled complications may not always negatively affect outcome. Our objective is to provide precise definitions for quality evaluation within endovascular neurosurgery. Thus, we propose an endovascular-specific classification system of complications based on our own patient series. Methods This single-center review included all patients who had endovascular interventions from September 2013 to August 2015. Complication types were analyzed, and a descriptive analysis was undertaken to calculate the incidence of complications overall and in each category. Results Two hundred and seventy-five endovascular interventions were performed in 245 patients (65% female; mean age, 55 years). Forty complications occurred in 39 patients (15%), most commonly during treatment of intracranial aneurysms (24/40). Mechanical complications (eg, device deployment, catheter, or closure device failure) occurred in 8/40, technical complications (eg, failure to deploy flow diverter, unintended embolization, air emboli, retroperitoneal hemorrhage, dissection) in 11/40, judgment errors (eg, patient or equipment selection) in 9/40, and critical events (eg, groin hematoma, hemorrhagic or thromboembolic complications) in 12/40 patients. Only 12/40 complications (30%) resulted in new neurologic deficits, vessel injury requiring surgery, or blood transfusion. Conclusions We propose an endovascular-specific classification system of complications with 4 categories: mechanical, technical, judgment errors, and critical events. This system provides a framework for future studies and quality control in endovascular neurosurgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Endovascular neurosurgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Quality improvement
  • Surgical complications

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    Ravindra, V. M., Mazur, M. D., Park, M. S., Kilburg, C., Moran, C. J., Hardman, R. L., Couldwell, W. T., & Taussky, P. (2016). Complications in Endovascular Neurosurgery: Critical Analysis and Classification. World neurosurgery, 95, 1-8.