Background and Purpose- Absence of arterial wall enhancement (AWE) of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIA) has shown promise at predicting which aneurysms will not rupture. We here tested the hypothesis that increased enhancement during follow-up (increased intensity, extension, or thickness or appearance of de novo enhancement), assessed using vessel wall magnetic resonance imaging, was associated with higher rates of subsequent growth. Methods- Patients with UIA were included between 2012 and 2018. Two readers independently rated AWE modification on 3T vessel wall magnetic resonance imaging, and morphological changes on time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography during follow-up. Results- A total of 129 patients harboring 145 UIA (mean size 4.1 mm) met study criteria, of which 12 (8.3%) displayed morphological growth at 2 years. Of them, 8 demonstrated increased AWE during follow-up before or concurrently to morphological growth, and 4 had preexisting AWE that remained stable before growth. In the remaining 133 (nongrowing) UIAs, no AWE modifications were found. In multivariable analysis, increased AWE, not size, was associated with UIA growth (relative risk, 26.1 [95% CI, 7.4-91.7], P<0.001). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for UIA growth of increased AWE during follow-up were, respectively, of 67%, 100%, 96%, and 100%. Conclusions- Increased AWE during follow-up of conservatively managed UIAs predicts aneurysm growth over a 2-year period. This may impact UIA management towards closer monitoring or preventive treatment. Replication in a different setting is warranted.
Keywords: follow-up; gadolinium; inflammation; intracranial aneurysms; magnetic resonance imaging.