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Robert D. Brown Jr., David O. Wiebers and Douglas A. Nichols

✓ This long-term follow-up study of 54 patients clarifies the angiographic predictors of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) and clinical outcome in individuals with unoperated intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulae (AVF's). All of these patients were examined at the Mayo Clinic between 1976 and 1989, and all available cerebral arteriograms were reviewed by a neuroradiologist. Follow-up information was obtained for 52 patients (96%) until death or treatment intervention, or for at least 1 year after diagnosis, with a mean follow-up period of 6.6 years.

Throughout this 6.6-year follow-up period, ICH related to dural AVF occurred in five of the 52 patients, for a crude risk of hemorrhage of 1.6% per year. The risk of hemorrhage at the time of mean follow-up examination was 1.8% per year. Angiographic examination revealed several characteristics that were considered potential predictors of ICH during the follow-up period. Lesions of the petrosal sinus and straight sinus had a higher propensity to bleed, although the small numbers in the series precluded a definite conclusion. A person suffering from a dural AVF with a venous varix on a draining vein had an increased risk of hemorrhage, whereas no hemorrhage was seen in the 20 patients without a varix (p < 0.05). Lesions draining into leptomeningeal veins had an increased occurrence of hemorrhage, although this increased risk was not statistically significant. Patients' initial symptoms were compared to those at follow-up evaluation. Pulsatile tinnitus improved in more than half of the 52 patients, and resolved in 75% of those showing some improvement. Individuals without a sinus or venous outflow occlusion at initial cerebral angiography were more likely to improve or remain stable (89%), whereas patients with an occlusion showed infrequent improvement (11%; p < 0.05).

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Robert D. Brown Jr., David O. Wiebers and Glenn S. Forbes

✓ Among 91 patients with unruptured intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVM's), 16 patients had 26 unruptured intracranial saccular aneurysms. An actuarial analysis showed the risk of intracranial hemorrhage among patients with coexisting aneurysm and AVM to be 7% per year at 5 years following diagnosis compared to 1.7% for patients with AVM alone. The difference in length of survival free of hemorrhage was significant (log-rank, p < 0.0007). Several angiographic and clinical parameters were investigated to better understand the relationship of these lesions. The aneurysms occurred in similar percentages in patients with small, medium, and large AVM's. Twenty-five aneurysms were on arteries feeding the malformation system, almost equally distributed proximally and distally. Eleven aneurysms were atypical in location, and all arose from primary or secondary branch feeders to the malformation; 24 were on enlarged feeding arteries. Eleven (16%) of the 67 patients with high-flow AVM's had associated aneurysms, compared with five (21%) of the 24 patients with low-flow AVM's. Four (16%) of 25 low-shunt malformations and 12 (18%) of 65 high-shunt malformations had associated aneurysms. All five aneurysms associated with low-shunt malformations were on a direct arterial feeder of the malformation. These data suggest that the intracranial AVM's predispose to aneurysm formation within AVM feeding systems and that the mechanism is not simply based upon the high blood flow or high arteriovenous shunt in these systems.

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Robert D. Brown Jr., David O. Wiebers, James C. Torner and W. Michael O'Fallon

✓ The purpose of this study was to determine the symptoms at presentation and the incidence of intracranial hemorrhage (ICrH) caused by intracranial vascular malformations (IVMs) in a defined population. The authors used the Mayo Clinic medical records linkage system to detect all cases of IVM among residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, during the period 1965 through 1992. Forty-eight IVMs were detected over the 27-year period. Twenty-nine of the 48 patients were symptomatic at presentation. The most common presenting symptom was ICrH, which was present in 20 patients, 69% of all symptomatic cases. Sixty-five percent of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) presented with ICrH. The most common subtype of ICrH was intracerebral hemorrhage, which was found in nine of 20 patients; the second most common subtype was subarachnoid hemorrhage. The peak occurrence of hemorrhage was during the fifth decade of life. The age- and gender-adjusted occurrence of a first ICrH from an IVM among residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota was 0.82 per 100,000 person years (95% confidence interval 0.46–1.19). There was no increase in the detection of IVM-related ICrH throughout the study period. The 30-day mortality rate following ICrH was 17.6% for patients with an AVM and 25% for all patients with IVMs. This study provides unique data on symptoms at presentation and the incidence of ICrH and hemorrhage subtypes from IVMs on a population basis.

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Thanh G. Phan, John Huston III, Robert D. Brown Jr., David O. Wiebers and David G. Piepgras

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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Bryce Weir

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Robert D. Brown Jr., David O. Wiebers, Glenn Forbes, W. Michael O'Fallon, David G. Piepgras, W. Richard Marsh and Robert J. Maciunas

✓ The authors conducted a long-term follow-up study of 168 patients to define the natural history of clinically unruptured intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVM's). Charts of patients seen at the Mayo Clinic between 1974 and 1985 were reviewed. Follow-up information was obtained on 166 patients until death, surgery, or other intervention, or for at least 4 years after diagnosis (mean follow-up time 8.2 years). All available cerebral arteriograms and computerized tomography scans of the head were reviewed. Intracranial hemorrhage occurred in 31 patients (18%), due to AVM rupture in 29 and secondary to AVM or aneurysm rupture in two. The mean risk of hemorrhage was 2.2% per year, and the observed annual rates of hemorrhage increased over time. The risk of death from rupture was 29%, and 23% of survivors had significant long-term morbidity. The size of the AVM and the presence of treated or untreated hypertension were of no value in predicting rupture.

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Ioannis Loumiotis, Robert D. Brown Jr., Roanna Vine, Harry J. Cloft, David F. Kallmes and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

The management of incidental small unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) is controversial and many factors need to be considered in the decision-making process. The authors describe a large consecutive series of patients harboring small incidental intracranial aneurysms. Treatment strategy, natural history, complications, and short-term outcomes are presented.

Methods

Between January 2008 and May 2011, the authors prospectively evaluated 212 patients with 272 small (< 10-mm) incidental aneurysms. Treatment recommendations (observation, endovascular treatment, or surgery), complications of treatment, and short-term outcomes were assessed.

Results

Recommended treatment consisted of observation in 125 patients, endovascular embolization in 64, and surgery in 18. Six patients were excluded from further analysis because they underwent treatment elsewhere. In the observation group, at a mean follow-up of 16.7 months, only 1 patient was moved to the embolization group. Seven (6%) of the 125 patients in the observation group died of causes unrelated to aneurysm. Sixty-five patients underwent 69 embolization procedures. The periprocedural permanent morbidity and mortality rates in patients undergoing endovascular treatment were 1.5% and 1.5%, respectively (overall morbidity and mortality rate 3.0%). In the surgery group no periprocedural complications were observed, although 1 patient did not return to her previous occupation. No aneurysmal rupture was documented in any of the 3 treatment groups during the follow-up period.

Conclusions

A cautious and individualized approach to incidental UIAs is of utmost importance for formulation of a safe and effective treatment algorithm. Invasive treatment (either endovascular or surgery) can be considered in selected younger patients, certain “higher-risk” locations, expanding aneurysms, patients with a family history of aneurysmal hemorrhage, and in those who cannot live their lives knowing that they harbor the UIA. Although the complication rate of invasive treatment is very low, it is not negligible. The study confirms that small incidental UIAs deemed to be not in need of treatment have a very benign short-term natural history, which makes observation a reasonable approach in selected patients.

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Douglas A. Nichols, Robert D. Brown Jr., Kent R. Thielen, Fredric B. Meyer, John L. D. Atkinson and David G. Piepgras

✓ The authors report their experience using electrolytically detachable coils for the treatment of ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms. Twenty-six patients with 28 posterior circulation aneurysms were treated. All patients were referred for endovascular treatment by experienced vascular neurosurgeons. Patients underwent follow-up angiography immediately after treatment, 1 to 6 weeks posttreatment, and 6 months posttreatment. Six-month follow-up angiograms obtained in 19 patients with 20 aneurysms demonstrated that 18 (90%) of the 20 aneurysms were 99 to 100% occluded, one aneurysm (5%) was approximately 90% occluded, and one aneurysm (5%) was approximately 75% occluded. The patient with the aneurysm that was approximately 75% occluded needed additional treatment, consisting of parent artery balloon occlusion, and was considered a treatment failure (3.8% of patients). There was one treatment-associated mortality (3.8%) but no treatment-associated serious neurological or nonneurological morbidity in the patient group. There was no recurrent aneurysm rupture during treatment or during the mean 27-month follow-up period.

Endovascular treatment of ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms with electrolytically detachable coils can be accomplished with low morbidity and mortality rates. The primary goal of treatment—preventing recurrent aneurysm—can be achieved over the short term.

Endovascular coil occlusion will play an important role in the treatment of ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms, particularly if long-term efficacy in preventing recurrent aneurysm hemorrhage can be documented.

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Kelly B. Mahaney, Robert D. Brown Jr., Irene Meissner, David G. Piepgras, John Huston III, Jie Zhang and James C. Torner

Object

The aim of this study was to determine age-related differences in short-term (1-year) outcomes in patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs).

Methods

Four thousand fifty-nine patients prospectively enrolled in the International Study of Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms were categorized into 3 groups by age at enrollment: < 50, 50–65, and > 65 years old. Outcomes assessed at 1 year included aneurysm rupture rates, combined morbidity and mortality from aneurysm procedure or hemorrhage, and all-cause mortality. Periprocedural morbidity, in-hospital morbidity, and poor neurological outcome on discharge (Rankin scale score of 3 or greater) were assessed in surgically and endovascularly treated groups. Univariate and multivariate associations of each outcome with age were tested.

Results

The risk of aneurysmal hemorrhage did not increase significantly with age. Procedural and in-hospital morbidity and mortality increased with age in patients treated with surgery, but remained relatively constant with increasing age with endovascular treatment. Poor neurological outcome from aneurysm- or procedure-related morbidity and mortality did not differ between management groups for patients 65 years old and younger, but was significantly higher in the surgical group for patients older than 65 years: 19.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 13.9%–24.4%), compared with 8.0% (95% CI 2.3%–13.6%) in the endovascular group and 4.2% (95% CI 2.3%–6.2%) in the observation group. All-cause mortality increased steadily with increasing age, but differed between treatment groups only in patients < 50 years of age, with the surgical group showing a survival advantage at 1 year.

Conclusions

Surgical treatment of UIAs appears to be safe, prevents 1-year hemorrhage, and may confer a survival benefit in patients < 50 years of age. However, surgery poses a significant risk of morbidity and death in patients > 65 years of age. Risk of endovascular treatment does not appear to increase with age. Risks and benefits of treatment in older patients should be carefully considered, and if treatment is deemed necessary for patients older than 65 years, endovascular treatment may be the best option.