Giant intracranial aneurysms: natural history and 1-year case fatality after endovascular or surgical treatment

J Neurosurg 134:49–57, 2021

Clinical evidence on giant intracranial aneurysms (GIAs), intracranial aneurysms with a diameter of at least 25 mm, is limited. The authors aimed to investigate the natural history, case fatality, and treatment outcomes of ruptured and unruptured GIAs.

METHODS In this international observational registry study, patients with a ruptured or unruptured GIA received conservative management (CM), surgical management (SM), or endovascular management (EM). The authors investigated rupture rates and case fatality.

RESULTS The retrospective cohort comprised 219 patients with GIAs (21.9% ruptured GIAs and 78.1% unruptured GIAs) whose index hospitalization occurred between January 2006 and November 2016. The index hospitalization in the prospective cohort (362 patients with GIAs [17.1% ruptured and 82.9% unruptured]) occurred between December 2008 and February 2017. In the retrospective cohort, the risk ratio for death at a mean follow-up of 4.8 years (SD 2.2 years) after CM, compared with EM and SM, was 1.63 (95% CI 1.23–2.16) in ruptured GIAs and 3.96 (95% CI 2.57–6.11) in unruptured GIAs. In the prospective cohort, the 1-year case fatality in ruptured GIAs/unruptured GIAs was 100%/22.0% during CM, 36.0%/3.0% after SM, and 39.0%/12.0% after EM. Corresponding 1-year rupture rates in unruptured GIAs were 25.0% during CM, 1.2% after SM, and 2.5% after EM. In unruptured GIAs, the HR for death within the 1st year in patients with posterior circulation GIAs was 6.7 (95% CI 1.5–30.4, p < 0.01), with patients with a GIA at the supraclinoid internal carotid artery as reference. Different sizes of unruptured GIAs were not associated with 1-year case fatality.

CONCLUSIONS Rupture rates for unruptured GIAs were high, and the natural history and treatment outcomes for ruptured GIAs were poor. Patients undergoing SM or EM showed lower case fatality and rupture rates than those undergoing CM. This difference in outcome may in part be influenced by patients in the CM group having been found poor candidates for SM or EM.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02066493 (