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Stroke. 2007 Apr;38(4):1404-10. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Risk of rupture of unruptured intracranial aneurysms in relation to patient and aneurysm characteristics: an updated meta-analysis.

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Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



We updated our previous review from 1996 on the risk of rupture of unruptured intracranial aneurysms, aiming to include the newly published articles.


We reviewed all studies from our former meta-analysis and performed a Medline search for new studies published after 1996. We calculated overall risks of rupture for studies with a mean follow-up time of <5, 5 to 10, and >10 years. Relative risks (RR) were calculated by comparing the risk of rupture in patients with and without potential risk factors. We aimed to perform multivariable analyses of the different risk factors with meta-regression analysis.


We included 19 studies (10 new) with 4705 patients and 6556 unruptured aneurysms (follow-up 26 122 patient-years). The overall rupture risks were 1.2% (follow-up <5 years), 0.6% (follow-up 5 to 10 years), and 1.3% (follow-up >10 years). In the univariable analysis, statistically significant risk factors for rupture were age >60 years (RR 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 3.7), female gender (RR 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.4), Japanese or Finnish descent (RR 3.4; 95% CI, 2.6 to 4.4), size >5 mm (RR 2.3; 95% CI, 1.0 to 5.2), posterior circulation aneurysm (RR 2.5; 95% CI, 1.6 to 4.1), and symptomatic aneurysm (RR 4.4; 95% CI, 2.8 to 6.8). Meta-regression analysis yielded implausible results.


Age, gender, population, size, site, and type of aneurysm should be considered in the decision whether to treat an unruptured aneurysm. Pooled multivariable analyses of individual data are needed to identify independent risk factors and to provide more reliable risk estimates for individual patients.

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