Risk factors for growth of intracranial aneurysms: A systematic review and meta-analysis

W. Brinjikji, Y. Q. Zhu, G. Lanzino, H. J. Cloft, M. H. Murad, Z. Wang, D. F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Understanding risk factors for intracranial aneurysm growth is important for patient management. We performed a meta-analysis examining risk factors for intracranial aneurysm growth in longitudinal studies and examined the association between aneurysm growth and rupture. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We searched the literature for longitudinal studies of patients with unruptured aneurysms. We examined the associations of demographics, multiple aneurysms, prior subarachnoid hemorrhage, family history of aneurysm or subarachnoid hemorrhage, smoking, and hypertension; and aneurysm shape, size, and location with aneurysm growth. We studied the association between aneurysm growth and rupture. A meta-analysis was performed by using a random-effects model by using summary statistics from included studies. RESULTS: Twenty-one studies including 3954 patients with 4990 aneurysms with 13,294 aneurysm-years of follow-up were included. The overall proportion of growing aneurysms was 3.0% per aneurysm-year (95% CI, 2.0%-4.0%). Patient risk factors for growth included age older than 50 years (3.8% per year versus 0.9% per year, P <.01), female sex (3.2% per year versus 1.3% per year, P <.01), and smoking history (5.5% per year versus 3.5% per year, P <.01). Characteristics associated with higher growth rates included cavernous carotid artery location (14.4% per year), nonsaccular shape (14.7% per year versus 5.2% per year for saccular, P <.01), and aneurysm size (P <.01). Aneurysm growth was associated with a rupture rate of 3.1% per year compared with 0.1% per year for stable aneurysms (P <.01). CONCLUSIONS: Observational evidence provided multiple clinical and anatomic risk factors for aneurysm growth, including age older than 50 years, female sex, smoking history, and nonsaccular shape. These findings should be considered when counseling patients regarding the natural history of unruptured intracranial aneurysms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-620
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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