Posterior Communicating Artery Aneurysms: Technical Pitfalls

Neurosurg Q 2010;20:74–81

The posterior communicating artery aneurysms correspond on 25% of all ruptured aneurysms. The clinical course is typically a subarachnoid hemorrhage and third nerve palsy. We intend to introduce a new classification for PComA aneurysms to help neurosurgeons in day-to-day practice present. We review our experience in PComA aneurysms and discuss the main factors involving morbidity, mortality, signs and symptoms, and prognosis of these aneurysms.

Material and Methods: We reviewed historical records, images, surgical videos, and CDs of 46 surgically clipped aneurysms in 39 patients from June 2000 to July 2009, in 2 Institutions: Hospital Sa˜o Camilo and Santa Paula, Sa˜o Paulo, Brazil. They were classified in 2 groups, the A group composed by patients who presented subarachnoid hemorrhage in acute phase and the B group composed by incidental aneurysms carriers. All patients were classified according to Hunt-Hess scale.

Results: The average age found was 53.6 years old (min 28 to Max 92). The incidence was higher among women (3.6:1). Worse outcomes were observed in group A. The mortality rate was 20% in group A and zero cases in group B. Similar rate was found for rupture cases (20% in A group vs zero in B group). Morbidity was similar for both groups. The mean aneurismal size for A group was 6mm (ranging from 5 to 25mm) and 5.3mm (ranging from 3 to 10 mm) for B group.

Conclusions: Posterior communicating artery aneurysms occurred 3 to 4 times more frequently in women than man. Oculomotor palsy associated with severe headache were commonly related to posterior circulation aneurysms. Type II aneurysms (temporal) were the most frequently found in our study. The worst prognosis in cases with acute bleeding occurred with fetal variant circulation. Intratentorial aneurysms, mainly those with increased Hunt-Hess, have the worst prognosis. Infundibular aneurysms had the best results with surgical clipping.

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