Unruptured cerebral aneurysms presenting with ischemic events

Can J Neurol Sci. 2008 Nov;35(5):588-92. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100009379.


Background: Patients harboring an unruptured cerebral aneurysm may present with ischemic events. The goal of this study is to assess the clinical and radiological characteristics and the outcome following treatment of these patients.

Methods: The study population included 463 patients with unruptured cerebral aneurysms treated between January 2000 and November 2006. Patients with aneurysms manifesting with ischemic events were included. Outcome was assessed 12 months following aneurysm treatment using the modified Rankin scale.

Results: Eleven patients were included in this series. An acute ischemic lesion in the symptomatic territory was demonstrated in six patients. The aneurysms were located on the internal carotid artery (n=4), middle cerebral artery (n=4), superior cerebellar artery (n=2) and basilar artery (n=1). They measured 10 mm or less (n=7); 11-20 mm (n=2); more than 21 mm (n=2). Five aneurysms were partially thrombosed on imaging. Five patients were referred for coiling. Of these, one patient had an unsuccessful coiling attempt, one had a residual neck, and three presented an aneurysm recurrence. Six patients were treated surgically. Symptomatic thromboembolism occurred after surgery in three patients. Complete aneurysm exclusion was documented in five of six operated patients. Nine of the ten treated patients had a favorable outcome.

Conclusion: Even though aneurysms presenting with ischemic events are often small and located on the anterior circulation, in this series the risk of thromboembolic events following aneurysm treatment is noteworthy. This information is relevant given the possible benign natural history in terms of stroke and risk of bleeding for some of these aneurysms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis*
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / surgery
  • Carotid Artery, Internal, Dissection / complications
  • Carotid Artery, Internal, Dissection / diagnosis
  • Carotid Artery, Internal, Dissection / surgery
  • Cerebral Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology*
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / instrumentation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / complications*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery
  • Intracranial Embolism / etiology
  • Intracranial Embolism / pathology
  • Intracranial Embolism / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome