Covidien, a medical supply and equipment company based in Dublin, Ireland, received words of praise and warning for its Pipeline cerebral aneurysm technology. The Pipeline embolization device was developed by ev3 Inc., a subsidiary of Covidien.
According to researchers, a post-market examination of the embolization device showed promising treatment results. The Pipeline embolization device is designed to divert blood away from the site of a brain aneurysm. In addition, the device is designed to promote the growth of vessel tissue to block off an aneurysm. This treatment method is in sharp contrast to other embolization treatment methods that provide immediate occlusion.
In a press release, the company stated, "Although treatment may take months to complete, the aneurysm is eventually completely occluded in most patients.” The press release continued, "Thus the PED offers an effective new option for patients with aneurysms that would previously have been difficult or impossible to treat."
While very promising, the Pipeline embolization device does come with significant risks. In a post-market study of 56 patients treated with the technology, four died of brain bleeding less than two months after implantation. Overall data shows that 8.5 percent of patients experience major complications or death with the use of this device. Patients experienced issues like increased clotting that led to strokes, transient ischemic attacks and other deployment issues. However, of the 19 patients for which there was three month follow-up data, 68 percent achieved complete occlusion of affected vessels. While complications from this procedure were severe or deadly for some patients, the successful occlusion of 68 percent of patients showed promise for this technology.