Predicting the growth of middle cerebral artery bifurcation aneurysms using differences in the bifurcation angle and inflow coefficient

J Neurosurg 138:1357–1365, 2023

Growing intracranial aneurysms (IAs) are prone to rupture. Previous cross-sectional studies using postrupture morphology have shown the morphological or hemodynamic features related to IA rupture. Yet, which morphological or hemodynamic differences of the prerupture status can predict the growth and rupture of smaller IAs remains unknown. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate the effects of morphological features and the hemodynamic environment on the growth of IAs at middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcations during the follow-up period.

METHODS One hundred two patients with MCA M1–2 bifurcation saccular IAs who underwent follow-up for more than 2 years at the authors’ institutions between 2011 and 2019 were retrospectively identified. During the follow-up period, cases involving growth of MCA IAs were assigned to the event group, and those with MCA IAs unchanged in size were assigned to the control group. The morphological parameters examined were aneurysmal neck length, dome height, aspect ratio and volume, M1 and M2 diameters and their ratio, and angle configurations among M1, M2, and the aneurysm. Hemodynamic parameters were flow rate and wall shear stress in M1, M2, and the aneurysm, including the aneurysmal inflow rate coefficient (AIRC), defined as the ratio of the aneurysmal inflow rate to the M1 flow rate. Those parameters were compared statistically between the two groups. Correlations between morphological and hemodynamic parameters were also examined.

RESULTS Eighty-three of 102 patients were included: 25 with growing MCA IAs (event group) and 58 with stable MCA IAs (control group). The median patient age at initial diagnosis was 66.9 (IQR 59.8–72.3) years. The median follow-up period was 48.5 (IQR 36.5–65.6) months. Both patient age and the AIRC were significant independent predictors of the growth of MCA IAs. Moreover, the AIRC was strongly correlated with sharper bifurcation and inflow angles, as well as wider inclination angles between the M1 and M2 arteries.

CONCLUSIONS The AIRC was a significant independent predictor of the growth of MCA IAs. Sharper bifurcation and inflow angles and wider inclination angles between the M1 and M2 arteries were correlated with the AIRC. MCA IAs with such a bifurcation configuration are more prone to grow and rupture.