Advanced cross-sectional imaging of cerebral aneurysms

Br J Radiol. 2023 Jan 1;96(1141):20220686. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20220686. Epub 2022 Dec 9.


While the rupture rate of cerebral aneurysms is only 1% per year, ruptured aneurysms are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, while aneurysm treatments have their own associated risk of morbidity and mortality. Conventional markers for aneurysm rupture include patient-specific and aneurysm-specific characteristics, with the development of scoring systems to better assess rupture risk. These scores, however, rely heavily on aneurysm size, and their accuracy in assessing risk in smaller aneurysms is limited. While the individual risk of rupture of small aneurysms is low, due to their sheer number, the largest proportion of ruptured aneurysms are small aneurysms. Conventional imaging techniques are valuable in characterizing aneurysm morphology; however, advanced imaging techniques assessing the presence of inflammatory changes within the aneurysm wall, hemodynamic characteristics of blood flow within aneurysm sacs, and imaging visualization of irregular aneurysm wall motion have been used to further determine aneurysm instability that otherwise cannot be characterized by conventional imaging techniques. The current manuscript reviews conventional imaging techniques and their value and limitations in cerebral aneurysm characterization, and evaluates the applications, value and limitations of advanced aneurysm imaging and post-processing techniques including intracranial vessel wall MRA, 4D-flow, 4D-CTA, and computational fluid dynamic simulations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm, Ruptured* / complications
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Angiography / methods
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / complications
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / diagnostic imaging