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Eva L. Leemans, Bart M. W. Cornelissen, Miran Said, René van den Berg, Cornelis H. Slump, Henk A. Marquering and Charles B. L. M. Majoie

OBJECTIVE

Previous studies have shown a relation between growth and rupture of intracranial aneurysms. Additionally, several morphological characteristics are frequently measured to estimate rupture risk. Little is known about how the rupture risk is associated with morphological characteristic changes during growth. The aim of this study was to provide insights into how morphological characteristics, associated with rupture, change during an aneurysm’s growth.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively identified patients with longitudinal MRA images of unruptured growing aneurysms. The MRA images had an in-plane resolution of 0.2–0.5 mm and a slice thickness of 0.2–0.75 mm. Therefore, growth was defined as an increase of at least 0.5 mm in two directions or 1 mm in one direction. Using the MRA images, the authors semiautomatically segmented the aneurysm and the perianeurysmal vasculature. Twelve morphological characteristics were automatically measured. These characteristics were related to size (diameter, height, width, neck diameter, volume, surface area, aspect ratio, height-width ratio, and bottleneck factor) and shape (ellipticity index, nonsphericity index, and undulation index) of the aneurysm. Morphological characteristics before and after growth were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

RESULTS

The authors included 31 patients with 38 growing aneurysms. The aneurysms’ growth was detected after a mean of 218 weeks (range 23–567 weeks). A significant increase was seen in all size-related characteristics, and the bottleneck factor also significantly increased (from a median of 1.00 [IQR 0.85–1.04] to 1.03 [IQR 0.93–1.18]), while the ellipticity index decreased (from a median of 0.26 [IQR 0.25–0.28] to 0.25 [IQR 0.24–0.26]). The changes in size ratios and shape indices varied largely among patients. Larger aneurysms more often showed an increase in shape ratios.

CONCLUSIONS

Although aneurysm growth, size-related characteristics, bottleneck factor, and ellipticity index changed significantly during growth, most size ratios and shape indices showed inconsistent changes among aneurysms. This suggests that, for an accurate rupture prediction, morphological parameters need to be reassessed after growth.