Clinical implications and radiographic characteristics of the relation between giant intracranial aneurysms of the posterior circulation and the brainstem

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:1747–1753

Giant intracranial aneurysms of the posterior circulation (GPCirA) are rare entities compressing the brainstem and adjacent structures. Previous evidence has shown that the amount of brainstem shift away from the cranial base is not associated with neurological deficits. This raises the question whether other factors may be associated with neurological deficits.

Methods All data were extracted from the Giant Intracranial Aneurysm Registry, an international multicenter prospective study on giant intracranial aneurysms. We grouped GPCirA according to the mass effect on the brainstem (lateral versus medial). Brainstem compression was evaluated with two indices: (a) brainstem compression ratio (BCR) or diameter of the compressed brainstem to the assumed normal diameter of the brainstem and (b) aneurysm to brainstem ratio (ABR) or diameter of the aneurysm to the diameter of the compressed brainstem. We examined associations between neurological deficits and GPCirA characteristics using binary regression analysis.

Results Twenty-eight GPCirA were included. Twenty GPCirA showed medial (71.4%) and 8 lateral compression of the brainstem (28.6%). Baseline characteristics did not differ between the groups for patient age, aneurysm diameter, aneurysm volume, modified Rankin Scale (mRS), motor deficit (MD), or cranial nerve deficits (CND). Mean BCR was 53.0 in the medial and 54.0 in the lateral group (p = 0.92). The mean ABR was 2.9 in the medial and 2.3 in the lateral group (p = 0.96). In the entire cohort, neither BCR nor ABR nor GPCirA volumes were associated with the occurrence of CND or MD. In contrast, disability (mRS) was significantly associated with ABR (OR 1.94 (95% CI 1.01–3.70; p = 0.045) and GPCirAvolumes (OR 1.21 (95% CI 1.01–1.44); p = 0.035), but not with BCR.

Conclusion In this cohort of patients with GPCirA, neither the degree of lateral projection nor the amount of brainstem compression predicted neurological deficits. Disability was associated only with aneurysm volume. When designing treatment strategies for GPCirA, aneurysm laterality or the amount of brainstem compression should be viewed as less relevant while the high risk of rupture of such giant lesions should be emphasized

Giant intracranial aneurysms of the posterior circulation and their relation to the brainstem: analysis of risk factors for neurological deficits

J Neurosurg 131:403–409, 2019

Giant posterior circulation aneurysms (GPCirAs) usually cause substantial mass effect on the brainstem, which may lead to neurological deficits. So far, there has been no systematic investigation of factors associated with such deficits in GPCirA. The authors aim to examine the risk factors for cranial nerve deficit (CND), motor deficit, and disability in patients with GPCirA.

METHODS Using MR images obtained in 30 patients with unruptured GPCirA, the authors examined GPCirA volume, presence of hydrocephalus or partial thrombosis (PT) of the aneurysm, and the degree of brainstem displacement mea- sured by the distance between the McRae line and the tip of the GPCirA (∆MT). They evaluated associations between these factors and neurological deficits.

RESULTS Thirty GPCirAs in 30 patients were included. The prevalence of CNDs was 50%. Patients with CNDs signifi- cantly differed from those without CNDs in terms of age (mean 51.0 years [SD 15.0 years] vs 69.0 years [SD 21.0 years], p = 0.01) and in ∆MT (median 50.7 mm [IQR 39.2–53.9 mm] vs 39.0 mm [IQR 32.3–45.9 mm], p = 0.02). The prevalence of motor deficits was 33.3%. Patients with motor deficits showed a larger ∆MT (median 50.5 mm [IQR 40.8–54.6 mm]) compared with those without (∆MT: median 39.1 mm [IQR 32.8–50.5 mm], p = 0.04). GPCirA volume was larger in patients with poor modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores (median 14.9 cm3 [IQR 8.6–18.7 cm3]) than in those with mRS scores of 0–2 (median 6.8 cm3 [IQR 4.4–11.7 cm3], p = 0.03). After adjusting for patient age and the occurrence of hydro- cephalus or PT, the authors found that higher degrees of disability were significantly associated with aneurysm volume (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.0–1.3; p = 0.04), but not with ∆MT. The occurrence of CND or motor deficit was not associated with any of the examined variables. There was no correlation between GPCirA volume and ∆MT (rs = 0.01, p = 0.96). The prevalence of neurological deficits did not differ between GPCirA at the basilar apex, the basilar trunk, the vertebrobasi- lar junction, or the vertebral artery.

CONCLUSIONS In this study, the neurological condition of the patients was associated only with GPCirA volume and not with the degree of brainstem displacement, the occurrence of PT or hydrocephalus, or the exact location of the GPCirA. These findings highlight the clinical relevance of GPCirA volume and suggest that factors such as brainstem displacement or PT should play less of a role when finding arguments for or against treatment of GPCirA.


Cranial nerve deficits in giant cavernous carotid aneurysms and their relation to aneurysm morphology and location

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1653–1660

Giant cavernous carotid aneurysms (GCCAs) usually exert substantial mass effect on adjacent intracavernous cranial nerves. Since predictors of cranial nerve deficits (CNDs) in patients with GCCA are unknown, we designed a study to identify associations between CND and GCCA morphology and the location of mass effect.

Methods This study was based on data from the prospective clinical and imaging databases of the Giant Intracranial Aneurysm Registry. We used magnetic resonance imaging and digital subtraction angiography to examine GCCA volume, presence of partial thrombosis (PT), GCCA origins, and the location of mass effect. We also documented whether CND was present.

Results We included 36 GCCA in 34 patients, which had been entered into the registry by eight participating centers between January 2009 and March 2016. The prevalence of CND was 69.4%, with one CND in 41.7% and more than one in 27.5%. The prevalence of PT was 33.3%. The aneurysm origin was most frequently located at the anterior genu (52.8%). The prevalence of CND did not differ between aneurysm origins (p = 0.29). Intracavernous mass effect was lateral in 58.3%, mixed medial/lateral in 27.8%, and purely medial in 13.9%. CND occurred significantly more often in GCCA with lateral (81.0%) or mixed medial/lateral (70.0%)mass effect than in GCCA with medial mass effect (20.0%; p = 0.03). After adjusting our data for the effects of the location of mass effect, we found no association between the prevalence of CND and aneurysm volume (odds ratio (OR) 1.30 (0.98–1.71); p = 0.07), the occurrence of PT (OR 0.64 (0.07–5.73); p = 0.69), or patient age (OR 1.02 (95% CI 0.95–1.09); p = 0.59).

Conclusions Distinguishing between medial versus lateral location of mass effect may be more helpful than measuring aneurysm volumes or examining aneurysm thrombosis in understanding why some patients with GCCA present with CND while others do not.