Quantification of tantalum sedimentation rates in liquid embolic agents

J R Mason, C Dodge, G Benndorf

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background Endovascular treatment (EVT) of brain arteriovenous malformations has evolved from cyanoacrylate derivatives such as N-butyl cyanoacrylate, an adhesive glue, to ethylene vinyl copolymer-based liquid embolics such as Onyx® and SQUID® dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide. Although these agents offer several advantages, their rapidly decreasing radiopacity, as a result of the sedimentation of tantalum powder, compromises visual control during EVT. This study aims to quantify and compare tantalum sedimentation rates of several liquid embolic agents, and determine their effects on radiopacity. Methods The rate of sedimentation of liquid embolics Onyx 18®, SQUID 12®, and SQUID 18® was measured after preparation by single x-ray exposures for a period of 30 minutes. The signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of the suspension of each liquid embolic was calculated at various time points as tantalum settled out of the suspension. Precipitating Hydrophobic Injectable Liquid (PHIL®) was imaged as a control. Results Onyx 18® demonstrated the fastest sedimentation rate of the liquid embolics analyzed and demonstrated a threefold faster drop in SNR compared to SQUID 18® over 30 minutes. Onyx 18® demonstrated a one and a half times faster drop in SNR compared to SQUID 12®. Although PHIL 25® maintained constant SNR over the same time, it was lower at baseline immediately after preparation compared to tantalum-based liquids. Conclusion Caution during long injections using tantalum-based agents is advised. Onyx 18® has a significantly faster drop in radiopacity compared to SQUID 12® and SQUID 18®. Covalently bonded iodine-based embolics like PHIL® demonstrate constant radiopacity over time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInterventional Neuroradiology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)574-579
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Liquid embolics
  • Onyx 18®
  • PHIL 25®
  • SQUID 12®
  • SQUID 18®
  • brain arteriovenous malformations
  • image quality
  • sedimentation
  • tantalum
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide/chemistry
  • Polyvinyls/chemistry
  • Arteriovenous Malformations/therapy
  • X-Rays
  • Drug Combinations
  • Tantalum/chemistry


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