Intracranial Aneurysm Wall Enhancement Associated with Aneurysm Rupture: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Acad Radiol. 2019 May;26(5):664-673. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2018.05.005. Epub 2018 Jun 13.


Rationale and objectives: Aneurysm wall enhancement (AWE) on magnetic resonance vessel wall imaging has been proposed as an imaging marker of aneurysm wall inflammation and instability. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the association between AWE and aneurysm rupture.

Materials and methods: We performed a comprehensive literature search of studies evaluating the association between AWE and aneurysm rupture. We abstracted the following study data: study design, patient demographics, aneurysm characteristics, MRI protocols, and AWE assessment. We performed meta-analysis using a random-effects model. Study heterogeneity was assessed by using the Cochrane Q and I2 statistic, and publication bias was examined by using the Begg-Mazumdar test.

Results: Five studies with 492 subjects met eligibility for systematic review. We found a significant positive overall association between AWE and aneurysm rupture, with an odds ratio (OR) of 34.26 (95% confidence interval [CI] 10.20-115.07, p < 0.001). No significant heterogeneity (Q = 5.38, p = 0.25; I2 = 26%) or publication bias (p = 1.000) was present. In the separate analysis of circumferential AWE and aneurysm rupture, we identified marked heterogeneity across studies (Q = 21.23, p < 0.001; I2 = 86%). Further subgroup analysis considering the effect of aneurysm size showed that the strength of association between circumferential AWE and aneurysm rupture was significant in small aneurysms (<7 mm), with an OR of 26.12 (95% CI 6.11-111.75, p < 0.001), but limited in large aneurysms (OR = 0.56, 95% CI [0.21, 1.44], p = 0.23).

Conclusion: AWE on magnetic resonance vessel wall imaging is significantly and independently associated with aneurysm rupture and may become a promising imaging marker to predict aneurysm behavior and identify high-risk aneurysms.

Keywords: Intracranial aneurysm; Magnetic resonance vessel wall imaging; Meta-analysis; Subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / diagnostic imaging