Natural History and Management of Basilar Trunk Artery Aneurysms

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Basilar trunk aneurysms (BTAs), defined as aneurysms distal to the basilar origin and proximal to the origin of the superior cerebellar artery, are rare and challenging to manage. We describe the natural history and management in a consecutive series of BTAs.

Methods—

Between 2000 and 2013, 2522 patients with 3238 aneurysms were referred to our institution for aneurysm management. A retrospective review of this database was conducted to identify all patients with BTAs.

Results—

In total, 52 patients had a BTA. Mean age was 56 (SD±18) years. Median clinical follow-up was 33 (interquartile range, 8–86) months, and imaging follow-up was 26 (interquartile range, 2–80.5) months. BTAs were classified into 4 causal subtypes: acute dissecting aneurysms, segmental fusiform ectasia, mural bleeding ectasia, and saccular aneurysms. Multiple aneurysms were more frequently noticed among the 13 saccular aneurysms when compared with overall population (P=0.021). There was preponderance of segmental ectasia or mural bleeding ectasia (P=0.045) in patients presenting with transit ischemic attack/stroke or mass effect. Six patients with segmental and 4 with mural bleeding ectasia demonstrated increasing size of their aneurysm, with 2 having subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by aneurysm rupture. None of the fusiform aneurysms that remained stable bled.

Conclusions—

BTAs natural histories may differ depending on subtype of aneurysm. Saccular aneurysms likely represent an underlying predisposition to aneurysm development because more than half of these cases were associated with multiple intracranial aneurysms. Intervention should be considered in segmental ectasia and chronic dissecting aneurysms, which demonstrate increase in size over time as there is an increased risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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