Blood blisterlike aneurysms of the internal carotid artery

Masamitsu Abe Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Saga Medical School, Saga, Japan; and Department of Neurosurgery, Nagasaki Rosai Hospital, Nagasaki, Japan

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Kazuo Tabuchi Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Saga Medical School, Saga, Japan; and Department of Neurosurgery, Nagasaki Rosai Hospital, Nagasaki, Japan

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Hiroaki Yokoyama Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Saga Medical School, Saga, Japan; and Department of Neurosurgery, Nagasaki Rosai Hospital, Nagasaki, Japan

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Akira Uchino Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Saga Medical School, Saga, Japan; and Department of Neurosurgery, Nagasaki Rosai Hospital, Nagasaki, Japan

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Object. An aneurysm arising from the anterior wall of the internal carotid artery (ICA) is a poorly understood entity. A small hemispherical bulge from the anterior wall of the ICA, which is called a “blood blisterlike aneurysm” (BBA), may be confused with a tiny berry aneurysm although the clinical features are distinctly different. This paper summarizes the clinical course of patients with this lesion to clarify the nature of the BBA.

Methods. Six patients with BBAs who presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) are described. In all patients, the initial angiogram obtained soon after SAH showed only a small bulge from the anterior wall of the ICA. In three of the six patients this bulge had progressed to a saccular appearance within a few weeks. The wall of the lesion was so thin and fragile that the aneurysm ruptured at the base during clipping or within a few hours after clipping in two patients.

Conclusions. From the authors' experience, as well as a review of the literature, which includes an autopsy study of similar cases, it is inferred that these lesions are focal wall defects covered only with thin fibrous tissue and that they are therefore not true aneurysms. Direct clipping often causes laceration of the lesion, whereas complete wrapping or clipping after wrapping is effective, but may fail to prevent growth of the aneurysm. Endovascular occlusion of the cervical ICA with or without bypass surgery, which is less risky than direct surgery, is another option.

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