Intracranial saccular aneurysm enlargement determined using serial magnetic resonance angiography

Thanh G. Phan Departments of Neurology, Diagnostic Radiology, and Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

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John Huston III Departments of Neurology, Diagnostic Radiology, and Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

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Robert D. Brown Jr. Departments of Neurology, Diagnostic Radiology, and Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

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David O. Wiebers Departments of Neurology, Diagnostic Radiology, and Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

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David G. Piepgras Departments of Neurology, Diagnostic Radiology, and Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

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Object. The goal of this study was to determine the frequency of enlargement of unruptured intracranial aneurysms by using serial magnetic resonance (MR) angiography and to investigate whether aneurysm characteristics and demographic factors predict changes in aneurysm size.

Methods. A retrospective review of MR angiograms obtained in 57 patients with 62 unruptured, untreated saccular aneurysms was performed. Fifty-five of the 57 patients had no history of subarachnoid hemorrhage. The means of three measurements of the maximum diameters of these lesions on MR source images defined the aneurysm size. The median follow-up period was 47 months (mean 50 months, range 17–90 months).

No aneurysm ruptured during the follow-up period. Four patients (7%) harbored aneurysms that had increased in size. No aneurysms smaller than 9 mm in diameter grew larger, whereas four (44%) of the nine aneurysms with initial diameters of 9 mm or larger increased in size. Factors that predicted aneurysm growth included the size of the lesion (p < 0.001) and the presence of multiple lobes (p = 0.021). The location of the aneurysm did not predict an increased risk of enlargement.

Conclusions. Patients with medium-sized or large aneurysms and patients harboring aneurysms with multiple lobes may be at increased risk for aneurysm growth and should be followed up with MR imaging if the aneurysm is left untreated.

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