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Growth in cerebral aneurysms increases risk of rupture
Date:7/1/2013

OAK BROOK, Ill. Cerebral aneurysms of all sizeseven small ones below seven millimetersare 12 times more likely to rupture if they are growing in size, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

A cerebral aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in a weakened blood vessel in the brain. If an aneurysm ruptures, blood is leaked into or around the brain, which can cause brain damage or death.

According to The Brain Aneurysm Foundation, an estimated 6 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people. Ruptured brain aneurysms occur in approximately 30,000 Americans each year and are fatal in about 40 percent of cases. Of those who survive, about two-thirds suffer some permanent neurological deficit.

"Given what a devastating event a ruptured brain aneurysm is, we are very motivated to identify the real risk factors for rupture," said the study's lead author, J. Pablo Villablanca, M.D., chief of diagnostic neuroradiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In Dr. Villablanca's study, 258 asymptomatic cerebral aneurysms identified either incidentally or during a baseline study of 165 patients (132 women, 33 men) were monitored over time (mean of 2.24 years) with computed tomography angiography (CTA), a noninvasive imaging study of the brain's blood vessels. Patients were scanned with CTA at intervals of six or 12 months.

Over the study period, the researchers observed growth in 46 or nearly 18 percent of all the intracranial aneurysms in a total of 38 patients. Three of the 39 growing saccular aneurysms ruptured, and of those, all were less than seven millimeters in size at study entry.

"Our study shows that the size of the aneurysm is not as important as was once thought," Dr. Villablanca said. "Any aneurysm is potentially capable of growth and thus requires follow-up imaging."

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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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