Intracranial aneurysms in children aged under 15 years: review of 59 consecutive children with 75 aneurysms

Childs Nerv Syst. 2005 Jun;21(6):437-50. doi: 10.1007/s00381-004-1125-x. Epub 2005 Apr 15.


Objective: The objective was to review the clinical aspects and therapeutic strategies in a series of aneurysmal vasculopathies seen in children 15 years or under.

Methods: From our dedicated neurovascular databank of patients, we reviewed 59 consecutive children who had 75 separate lesions.

Results: The children were divided into four age groups: below 2 years (22%), 2-5 years (24%), 6-10 years (24%) and 11-15 years (30%). Thirty-three children had dissecting aneurysms, 2 had chronic post-traumatic aneurysms, 8 had infectious aneurysms and 16 had saccular lesions. Twenty-seven percent of the lesions were in the posterior circulation, and 21% developed on the middle cerebral artery. Most dissecting lesions were encountered in the vertebrobasilar system, while saccular lesions were present mostly in the anterior circulation. Half of all cases presented with haemorrhage. Haemorrhage in patients below 2 years of age was due to dissecting aneurysms, while saccular aneurysms were responsible for haemorrhage in patients above 5 years of age. Five children had familial disease and 9 presented with multiple aneurysms. Forty-eight children were referred to us for treatment. Thirty-two underwent surgical (21.9%), endovascular (62.8%) or combined (9.3%) treatment. Eleven patients were treated conservatively and in 5 patients the aneurysms had spontaneously thrombosed at admission. Overall, complete or partial spontaneous thrombosis was seen in 10 patients (16.9%). Dissecting aneurysms were frequent in children of all ages with either associated thrombosis or arterial tear with repeated acute haemorrhage and poor outcome. Two types of dissection seem identifiable despite the small number of cases collected: acute segmental arterial tear without thrombosis, acute subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) and recurrence before 5 years; and subacute focal dissection with partial thrombosis (or mural haematoma), rare SAH and no early recurrence. The former would require aggressive management whereas the latter often do not require interventional approaches. The mortality in our series of aneurysms is low in the treated group (10.42%). The overall tolerance to haemorrhage seems better than in adults, as already stressed in the literature.

Conclusion: The multiple etiologies encountered confirm the heterogenous nature of "aneurysms". The variety of treatments used suggests the need to categorise aneurysms into subgroups in sufficient numbers to fully appreciate the behavior of the lesions and make the appropriate therapeutic decisions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / therapy
  • Male
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed