Intracranial aneurysms: Review of current science and management

Vasc Med. 2018 Jun;23(3):276-288. doi: 10.1177/1358863X18754693.


Unruptured intracranial aneurysms often have a relatively benign clinical course. Frequently, they are found incidentally during workup for an underlying, possibly related or unrelated, symptom or condition. Overall, brain aneurysms are considered to have a relatively low annual risk of rupture. However, should it occur, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Our understanding of the natural history and treatment outcomes of cerebral aneurysms has significantly increased over the last few decades, but choosing the optimal management for each patient requires the careful consideration of numerous medical, clinical and anatomic factors. The purpose of this review is to help physicians and caregivers, who may participate in the diagnosis, counseling and triage of patients with brain aneurysms, understand the basic elements of decision making. We discuss natural history, risk factors, screening, presentation, diagnosis, and their implications on aneurysm management and long-term follow-up. We also provide an overview of the risks and benefits of currently available treatment options.

Keywords: brain aneurysm; intracranial aneurysm; risk factors; screening.

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / diagnosis
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / therapy*
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome