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Neurol Res. 2000 Mar;22(2):165-70.

The relationship of blunt head trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and rupture of pre-existing intracranial saccular aneurysms.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA.


Patients with a history of closed head trauma and subarachnoid hemorrhage are uncommonly diagnosed with an intracranial saccular aneurysm. This study presents a group of patients in whom a pre-existing aneurysm was discovered during work-up for traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage. Without an accurate pre-trauma clinical history, it is difficult to define the relationship between trauma and the rupture of a pre-existing intracranial saccular aneurysm. We retrospectively reviewed 130 patients who presented to Detroit Receiving Hospital between 1993 and 1997 with a diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Of these 130 patients, 70 were spontaneous, and 60 had a history of trauma. Mechanisms of trauma include motor vehicle accident, assault, or fall from a height. Of the 60 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage and a history of trauma, 51 (86%) did not undergo conventional four-vessel angiography, and had no further neurological sequelae. Nine patients (14%) had a suspicious quantity of blood within the basal cisterns or Sylvian fissure and had a four-vessel angiogram. Five patients (8%) were diagnosed with a saccular intracranial aneurysm, and all underwent surgical clipping of the aneurysm. We conclude that the majority of patients (92%), with post-traumatic SAH do not harbor intracranial aneurysms. However, during initial evaluation, a high level of suspicion must be entertained when post-traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage is encountered in the basal cisterns or Sylvian fissure, as 8% of our population were diagnosed with aneurysms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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