Blood blister-like aneurysms of the internal carotid artery trunk causing subarachnoid hemorrhage: treatment and outcome

J Neurosurg. 2008 Apr;108(4):662-71. doi: 10.3171/JNS/2008/108/4/0662.


Object: The object of this study was to evaluate cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from ruptured blood blister-like aneurysms (BBAs) of the internal carotid artery (ICA) trunk.

Methods: The authors performed a single-center, retrospective study. Data analyzed were patient age, sex, Hunt and Hess grade, Fisher grade, time from SAH to hospitalization, aneurysm size and location, collateral capacity of the circle of Willis, time from hospitalization to aneurysm repair, type of aneurysm repair, complications, and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score at follow-up.

Results: A total of 211 patients suffered SAH from ICA aneurysms. Of these, 14 patients (6.6%) had ICA trunk BBAs; 6 men and 8 women. The median age was 47.8 years (range 29.9-67.7 years). The Hunt and Hess grade was IV or V in 7 cases, and SAH was Fisher Grade 3 + 4 in 6. All aneurysms were small (< 1 cm), without relation to vessel bifurcations, and usually located anteromedially on the ICA trunk. Three patients were treated with coil placement and 11 with clip placement. Of the 7 patients in whom the ICA was preserved, only 1 had poor outcome (GOS Score 2). In contrast, cerebral infarcts developed in all patients treated with ICA sacrifice, directly postoperatively in 2 and after delay in 5. Six patients died, 1 survived in poor condition (GOS Score 3; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Internal carotid BBAs are rare, small, and difficult to treat endovascularly, with only 2 of 14 patients successfully treated with coil placement. The BBAs rupture easily during surgery (ruptured in 6 of 11 surgical cases). Intraoperative aneurysm rupture invariably led to ICA trap ligation. Sacrifice of the ICA within 48 hours of an SAH led to very poor outcome, even in patients with adequate collateral capacity on preoperative angiograms, probably because of vasospasm-induced compromise of the cerebral collaterals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / complications*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / complications*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Infarction / prevention & control
  • Cerebral Revascularization / methods*
  • Female
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome