Object: Familial predisposition is a recognized nonmodifiable risk factor for the formation and rupture of intracranial aneurysms (IAs). However, data regarding the characteristics of familial IAs are limited. The authors sought to describe familial IAs more fully, and to compare their characteristics with a large cohort of nonfamilial IAs.
Methods: The Familial Intracranial Aneurysm (FIA) study is a multicenter international study with the goal of identifying genetic and other risk factors for formation and rupture of IAs in a highly enriched population. The authors compared the FIA study cohort with the International Study of Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms (ISUIA) cohort with regard to patient demographic data, IA location, and IA multiplicity. To improve comparability, all patients in the ISUIA who had a family history of IAs or subarachnoid hemorrhage were excluded, as well as all patients in both cohorts who had a ruptured IA prior to study entry.
Results: Of 983 patients enrolled in the FIA study with definite or probable IAs, 511 met the inclusion criteria for this analysis. Of the 4059 patients in the ISUIA study, 983 had a previous IA rupture and 657 of the remainder had a positive family history, leaving 2419 individuals in the analysis. Multiplicity was more common in the FIA patients (35.6% vs 27.9%, p<0.001). The FIA patients had a higher proportion of IAs located in the middle cerebral artery (28.6% vs 24.9%), whereas ISUIA patients had a higher proportion of posterior communicating artery IAs (13.7% vs 8.2%, p=0.016).
Conclusions: Heritable structural vulnerability may account for differences in IA multiplicity and location. Important investigations into the underlying genetic mechanisms of IA formation are ongoing.