The pathogenesis of cerebral aneurysms in patients with internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion is hypothesized to be hemodynamic. For the first time, the authors quantify the hemodynamic characteristics associated with aneurysm formation in patients with ICA occlusion.
Records of patients with unilateral ICA stenosis or occlusion ≥ 90% who underwent hemodynamic assessment before treatment using quantitative MR angiography were retrospectively reviewed. The patients were classified into 2 groups based on the presence or absence of aneurysms. The hemodynamic parameters of flow volume rate, flow velocity, and wall shear stress (WSS) were measured in each vessel supplying collateral flow—bilateral A1 segments and bilateral posterior communicating arteries—and then compared between the groups.
A total of 36 patients were included (8 with and 28 without aneurysms). The mean flow (72.3 vs 48.9 ml/min, p = 0.10), flow velocity (21.1 vs 12.7 cm/sec, p = 0.006), and WSS (22.0 vs 12.3 dynes/cm2, p = 0.003) were higher in the A1 segment contralateral to the side of the patent ICA in patients with versus without aneurysms. All de novo or growing aneurysms in our cohort were located on the anterior communicating artery (ACoA) or P1 segment.
Flow velocity and WSS are significantly higher across the ACoA in patients who harbor an aneurysm, and de novo or growing aneurysms are often located on collateral vessels. Thus, robust primary collaterals after ICA occlusion may be a contributing factor in cerebral aneurysm formation.