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Cerebral Aneurysm

Cerebral Aneurysm is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Abnormal, localized dilation or outpouching of cerebral artery wall:
    • Occurs in 5–10% of population
  • Rupture of saccular aneurysms account for 5–15% of strokes
  • Of those that rupture:
    • 40% occur at anterior communicating artery (ACA)
    • 30% at internal carotid (IC)
    • 20% in middle cerebral artery (MCA)
    • 5–10% in vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) system


  • Asymptomatic in 3.2% of population
  • “Congenital,” saccular, or berry aneurysms most common (90%):
    • Develop at weak points in arterial wall and bifurcations of major cerebral arteries
    • Incidence increases with age
    • Multiple in 20–30%
    • Increased incidence:
      • Polycystic kidney disease
      • Cerebral arteriovenous malformation
      • Type III collagen deficiency
      • Fibromuscular dysplasia
      • Ehlers–Danlos syndrome
      • Marfan syndrome
      • Pseudoxanthoma elasticum
      • Neurofibromatosis
      • Moyamoya syndrome
      • Coarctation of the aorta
      • Tuberous sclerosis
      • Sickle cell disease
      • Osler–Weber–Rendu syndrome
      • α1-Antitrypsin deficiency
      • Systemic lupus erythematosus
      • Glucocorticoid remediable hyperaldosteronism
  • Arteriosclerotic, fusiform, or dolichoectatic (7%):
    • More common in peripheral arteries
  • Inflammatory (mycotic):
    • 10% of patients with bacterial endocarditis
  • Traumatic, associated with severe closed head injury
  • Neoplastic, embolized tumor fragments
  • Familial correlation: 1st-degree relative with history of aneurysm essentially doubles lifetime risk

Pediatric Considerations
  • Although rare in children, more likely to be giant (>25 mm)
  • Occur in the posterior circulation

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Cerebral Aneurysm." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307537/all/Cerebral_Aneurysm.
Cerebral Aneurysm. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307537/all/Cerebral_Aneurysm. Accessed April 24, 2019.
Cerebral Aneurysm. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307537/all/Cerebral_Aneurysm
Cerebral Aneurysm [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 24]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307537/all/Cerebral_Aneurysm.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Cerebral Aneurysm ID - 307537 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307537/all/Cerebral_Aneurysm PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -