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Bradley A. Gross, Ning Lin, Rose Du, and Arthur L. Day

Literature reports on the natural history of cerebral cavernous malformations (CMs) are numerous, with considerable variability in lesion epidemiology, hemorrhage rates, and risk factors for hemorrhage. In this review, the authors performed a meta-analysis of 11 natural history studies. The overall male-to-female ratio was 1:1, and the mean age at presentation was 30.6 years. Overall, 37% of patients presented with seizures, 36% with hemorrhage, 23% with headaches, 22% with focal neurological deficits, and 10% were asymptomatic. Some patients had more than one symptom. Seizure presentation was most prevalent among supratentorial CMs, while focal neurological deficits were common in patients with infratentorial CMs. By location, CMs were in the cerebral hemispheres (66%), brainstem (18%), basal ganglia or thalamus (8%), cerebellum (6%), and other (2.5% [combined supra- and infratentorial, callosal or insular]). Overall, 19% of patients harbored multiple intracranial CMs, and 9% had radiographically apparent associated developmental venous anomalies. An overall annual hemorrhage rate of 2.4% per patient-year (range 1.6%–3.1%) was identified across 3 studies. Prior hemorrhage and female sex were risk factors for bleeding, while CM size and multiplicity did not affect hemorrhage rates. Although not impacting the hemorrhage rate itself, deep location was a risk factor for increased clinical aggressiveness.

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Ning Lin, Allen Ho, Bradley A. Gross, Steven Pieper, Kai U. Frerichs, Arthur L. Day, and Rose Du


Management of unruptured intracranial aneurysms remains controversial in neurosurgery. The contribution of morphological parameters has not been included in the treatment paradigm in a systematic manner or for any particular aneurysm location. The authors present a large sample of middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms that were assessed using morphological variables to determine the parameters associated with aneurysm rupture.


Preoperative CT angiography (CTA) studies were evaluated using Slicer software to generate 3D models of the aneurysms and their surrounding vascular architecture. Morphological parameters examined in each model included 5 variables already defined in the literature (aneurysm size, aspect ratio, aneurysm angle, vessel angle, and size ratio) and 3 novel variables (flow angle, distance to the genu, and parent-daughter angle). Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were performed to determine statistical significance.


Between 2005 and 2008, 132 MCA aneurysms were treated at a single institution, and CTA studies of 79 aneurysms (40 ruptured and 39 unruptured) were analyzed. Fifty-three aneurysms were excluded because of reoperation (4), associated AVM (2), or lack of preoperative CTA studies (47). Ruptured aneurysms were associated with larger size, greater aspect ratio, larger aneurysm and flow angles, and smaller parent-daughter angle. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that aspect ratio, flow angle, and parent-daughter angle were the strongest factors associated with ruptured aneurysms.


Aspect ratio, flow angle, and parent-daughter angle are more strongly associated with ruptured MCA aneurysms than size. The association of parameters independent of aneurysm morphology with ruptured aneurysms suggests that these parameters may be associated with an increased risk of aneurysm rupture. These factors are readily applied in clinical practice and should be considered in addition to aneurysm size when assessing the risk of aneurysm rupture specific to the MCA location.