Differences in the basilar artery bifurcation angle among patients who present with a ruptured aneurysm at the top of the basilar artery and patients with perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage: a retrospective cross-sectional study

Neurosurgery. 2013 Jul;73(1):2-7. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000429837.45820.9c.


Background: The angle of the basilar artery bifurcation of (BAB angle) is thought to influence the risk of the development and rupture of aneurysms at this site. It is, however, unknown whether the BAB angle also influences the incidence of angiographically negative perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage (PMSAH).

Objective: We performed a retrospective cross-sectional study comparing the BAB angle in a series of patients who presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm at the top of the basilar artery (BSAH) with the BAB angle in a series of patients who presented with PMSAH.

Methods: Consecutive patients who presented to our institution with PMSAH or BSAH between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010 were studied. Patients with PMSAH were further subdivided into patients with classic PMSAH (CPMSAH) and those with nonclassic PMSAH (NCPMSAH) based on initial head computed tomography examinations. In each patient, the BAB angle was measured on the standard cranial anteroposterior projections after vertebral artery injections.

Results: A total of 21 patients with CPMSAH, 30 patients with NCPMSAH, and 31 patients with BSAH were studied. The BAB angle was significantly smaller in patients with CPMSAH (87.7 ± 17.1 degrees) and NCPMSAH (98.4 ± 21.1 degrees) compared with patients with BSAH (135.0 ± 30.8 degrees) (P < .001).

Conclusion: The significantly lower BAB angle in PMSAH patients compared with BSAH patients suggests that bleeding in PMSAH is either nonarterial in nature or is secondary to variations in hemodynamic arterial stress at the top of the basilar artery that need to be studied further with computational models.

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / epidemiology*
  • Basilar Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Angiography / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Mesencephalon / blood supply
  • Mesencephalon / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / epidemiology*