Stroke in patients with fusiform vertebrobasilar aneurysms

Neurology. 1989 Jan;39(1):16-21. doi: 10.1212/wnl.39.1.16.


We studied seven patients with brainstem infarction and large fusiform vertebrobasilar (VB) aneurysms to clarify the clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features. All presented with pontine infarcts; one also had a cerebellar infarct. VB TIAs preceded brainstem infarction in four patients. Angiography and CT documented VB fusiform aneurysmal dilatation. Four had intraluminal thrombi and one had severe basilar artery stenosis. Two distinct clinical pictures emerged: unilateral pontine infarcts with favorable outcome, presumably related to obstruction of a pontine penetrating artery at its origin from the posterior wall of the aneurysmal basilar artery, and major fatal bilateral pontine infarcts from basilar artery occlusion. Two patients came to autopsy. One had thrombus in the dilated basilar artery and a posterior cerebral artery branch embolus with hemorrhagic occipital infarction; the other had basilar artery thrombus with aneurysmal rupture and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Fusiform VB aneurysms caused brainstem stroke by intraluminal thrombus, local embolism, atherostenosis, and obstruction of paramedian penetrating arteries. Subarachnoid hemorrhage is an uncommon complication.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Basilar Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Basilar Artery* / pathology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / complications*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vertebral Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Vertebral Artery* / pathology