Is there an inherited anatomical conformation favoring aneurysmal formation of the anterior communicating artery?

J Neurosurg 126:1598–1605, 2017

The pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for the formation of intracranial aneurysms (IAs) remain only partially elucidated. However, current evidence suggests a genetic component. The purpose of this study was to investigate the specific anatomical variations in the arterial complex that are associated with the presence of anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysms in the familial forms of IAs.

METHODS This multicenter study investigated bifurcation IAs in patients who had a sporadic ACoA IA without a family history of IA (SACAA group), in patients who had an ACoA IA with a family history of IA (FACAA group), and in their healthy first-degree relatives (HFDRs). Through the use of MR angiography (MRA) reconstructions, the symmetry of the A1 segments and the angle between the A1 and A2 segments were analyzed on 3D models for each group. These measurements were then compared among the 3 groups.

RESULTS Twenty-four patients with SACAA, 24 patients with FACAA, and 20 HFDRs were included in the study. Asymmetrical configuration of the A1 segments was more frequent in the FACAA group than in the HFDR group (p = 0.002). The aneurysm-side A1-A2 angle was lower in the FACAA group (p = 0.003) and SACAA group (p = 0.007) than in the HFDR group. On the contralateral side, there was no difference in A1-A2 angles between groups.

CONCLUSIONS The anatomical shape of the ACoA complex seems to be similarly associated with the presence of ACoA IAs in both the FACAA and SACAA groups. This highlights the role played by hemodynamic constraints in aneurysm formation and questions the hypothesis of the hereditary character of these anatomical shapes.