Prevalence of intracranial aneurysms in first-degree relatives of patients with aneurysms

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  • Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado
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Object

A familial predisposition toward cerebral aneurysms has been previously described in patients with two or more affected family members. In the present study the familial incidence of unruptured intracranial aneurysms was studied in 96 patients with at least one first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) in whom a cerebral aneurysm was diagnosed.

Methods

All patients were between 20 and 70 years of age and underwent three-dimensional fast–spin echo magnetic resonance imaging. Sixty-one patients (63.5%) were women. The majority of patients (84%) were caucasian and the remainder were Hispanic (13%) or African-American (3%). No patient suffered a medical condition (excluding hypertension and smoking) known to be associated with cerebral aneurysm formation.

In four patients at least one aneurysm was found (two harbored multiple aneurysms). Three of the four patients were women. Two of the patients were siblings. The estimated prevalence in first-degree relatives was 4.2% (95% confidence interval 1.2–10.1). Of note, the mean age in the current study population was 39 years. The authors of recent metaanalyses have suggested that the prevalence of nonfamilial aneurysms is approximately 2%, despite earlier reports in which higher figures were cited.

Conclusions

The authors conclude that first-degree relatives of patients with aneurysms are at higher risk for harboring an intracranial aneurysm.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

DS = digital-subtraction; MCA = middle cerebral artery; MR = magnetic resonance; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Object

A familial predisposition toward cerebral aneurysms has been previously described in patients with two or more affected family members. In the present study the familial incidence of unruptured intracranial aneurysms was studied in 96 patients with at least one first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) in whom a cerebral aneurysm was diagnosed.

Methods

All patients were between 20 and 70 years of age and underwent three-dimensional fast–spin echo magnetic resonance imaging. Sixty-one patients (63.5%) were women. The majority of patients (84%) were caucasian and the remainder were Hispanic (13%) or African-American (3%). No patient suffered a medical condition (excluding hypertension and smoking) known to be associated with cerebral aneurysm formation.

In four patients at least one aneurysm was found (two harbored multiple aneurysms). Three of the four patients were women. Two of the patients were siblings. The estimated prevalence in first-degree relatives was 4.2% (95% confidence interval 1.2–10.1). Of note, the mean age in the current study population was 39 years. The authors of recent metaanalyses have suggested that the prevalence of nonfamilial aneurysms is approximately 2%, despite earlier reports in which higher figures were cited.

Conclusions

The authors conclude that first-degree relatives of patients with aneurysms are at higher risk for harboring an intracranial aneurysm.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

DS = digital-subtraction; MCA = middle cerebral artery; MR = magnetic resonance; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Robert E. Breeze, M.D., University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Department of Neurosurgery, 4200 East 9th Avenue Box C307, Denver, Colorado 80262. email: Robert.Breeze@UCHSC.edu.

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