Successful occlusion of cerebral aneurysms using coil is embolization contingent upon stable thrombus formation, and quality of the thrombus depends upon the biomechanical environment. The goal of this study was to investigate how coil embolization alters the mechanical microenvironment within the aneurysm dome. Inertialess particles were injected in 3-dimensional, computational simulations of flow inside patient aneurysms using patient-specific boundary conditions. Coil embolization was simulated as a homogenous porous medium of known permeability and inertial constant. Lagrangian particle tracking was used to calculate the residence time and shear stress history for particles in the flow before and after treatment. The percentage of particles entering the aneurysm dome correlated with the neck surface area before and after treatment (pretreatment: R2 = 0.831, P < 0.001; posttreatment: R2 = 0.638, P < 0.001). There was an inverse relationship between the change in particles entering the dome and coil packing density (R2 = 0.600, P < 0.001). Following treatment, the particles with the longest residence times tended to remain within the dome even longer while accumulating lower shear stress. A significant correlation was observed between the treatment effect on residence time and the ratio of the neck surface area to porosity (R2 = 0.390, P = 0.007). The results of this study suggest that coil embolization triggers clot formation within the aneurysm dome via a low shear stress-mediated pathway. This hypothesis links independently observed findings from several benchtop and clinical studies, furthering our understanding of this treatment strategy.

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