A review of size and location of ruptured intracranial aneurysms

Neurosurgery. 2001 Dec;49(6):1322-5; discussion 1325-6. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200112000-00006.


Objective: To review our experience and examine the size at which aneurysms ruptured in our patient population.

Methods: Patient charts and angiograms for all patients admitted with a diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage to the Thomas Jefferson/Wills Eye Hospital between April 1996 and March 2000 were reviewed.

Results: Of the 362 cases reviewed, definite measurements of the ruptured aneurysm were obtained in 245. The data clearly showed that most ruptured aneurysms presenting to our institution were less than 10 mm in diameter. We found that, regardless of location on the circle of Willis, 85.6% of all aneurysms presenting with rupture were less than 10 mm. Review by location shows that aneurysms of the anterior communicating artery most often presented with rupture at sizes less than 10 mm (94.4%). A large number of ruptured posterior communicating artery aneurysms also presented at sizes less than 10 mm (87.5%). This trend continued for all aneurysm sites in our review. The incidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage in Western countries is estimated at 10 per 100,000 people per year. Recent reports have indicated that aneurysms less than 10 mm in size are unlikely to rupture.

Conclusion: We argue that the risk of small aneurysms rupturing is not insignificant, especially those of the anterior communicating artery. Our findings indicate that surgery on unruptured aneurysms should not be predicated on aneurysm size alone.

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / pathology
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / surgery*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / pathology
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / surgery*