What Is the Significance of a Large Number of Ruptured Aneurysms Smaller than 7 mm in Diameter?

J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2009 Feb;45(2):85-9. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2009.45.2.85. Epub 2009 Feb 27.


Objective: The International Study of Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms (ISUIA) reported that the 5-year cumulative rupture rate of small unruptured aneurysms less than 7 mm in diameter is very low depending on the aneurysm's location. However, we have seen a large number of ruptured aneurysms less than 7 mm in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to review our experience and to measure the size and location at which aneurysms ruptured in our patient population.

Methods: We reviewed the characteristics of aneurysms, such as size and location, from the original angiograms of patients who were admitted to our hospital between January 2004 and December 2007. All aneurysms were treated surgically or through endovascular procedures.

Results: Interventional or surgical treatment was given to a total of 889 patients, including 568 females and 321 males. At the time of our study, 627 cases were ruptured aneurysms and 262 cases were unruptured aneurysms. Of the ruptured cases, the mean diameter of the aneurysm was 6.28 mm. We found that 71.8% of ruptured aneurysms were smaller than 7 mm in diameter, and 87.9%, were smaller than 10 mm. Based on location, the data show that anterior communicating artery aneurysms most often presented with rupture sizes less than 7 mm (76.8%) and 10 mm (92.1%) in diameter. Most ruptured aneurysms were less than 7 mm in size, although recent studies have noted that small aneurysms are less likely to rupture.

Conclusion: Although the natural history of unruptured intracranial aneurysms remains controversial, the aneurysm size and location play a signigicant role in determining the risk of rupture. Larger sample sizes and a long term study are needed to reveal the natural history and the rupture risk of unruptured intracranial aneurysms because the size of most ruptured aneurysms was less than 7 mm in diameter in our series.

Keywords: Age; Intracranial aneurysm; Location; Rupture; Size.