How Cerebral Vessel Tortuosity Affects Development and Recurrence of Aneurysm: Outer Curvature versus Bifurcation Type

J Stroke. 2021 May;23(2):213-222. doi: 10.5853/jos.2020.04399. Epub 2021 May 31.


Background and purpose: Previous studies have assessed the relationship between cerebral vessel tortuosity and intracranial aneurysm (IA) based on two-dimensional brain image analysis. We evaluated the relationship between cerebral vessel tortuosity and IA according to the hemodynamic location using three-dimensional (3D) analysis and studied the effect of tortuosity on the recurrence of treated IA.

Methods: We collected clinical and imaging data from patients with IA and disease-free controls. IAs were categorized into outer curvature and bifurcation types. Computerized analysis of the images provided information on the length of the arterial segment and tortuosity of the cerebral arteries in 3D space.

Results: Data from 95 patients with IA and 95 controls were analyzed. Regarding parent vessel tortuosity index (TI; P<0.01), average TI (P<0.01), basilar artery (BA; P=0.02), left posterior cerebral artery (P=0.03), both vertebral arteries (VAs; P<0.01), and right internal carotid artery (P<0.01), there was a significant difference only in the outer curvature type compared with the control group. The outer curvature type was analyzed, and the occurrence of an IA was associated with increased TI of the parent vessel, average, BA, right middle cerebral artery, and both VAs in the logistic regression analysis. However, in all aneurysm cases, recanalization of the treated aneurysm was inversely associated with increased TI of the parent vessels.

Conclusions: TIs of intracranial arteries are associated with the occurrence of IA, especially in the outer curvature type. IAs with a high TI in the parent vessel showed good outcomes with endovascular treatment.

Keywords: Hemodynamic stress; Hemodynamics; Intracranial aneurysm.