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Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2014 Apr;20(2 Cerebrovascular Disease):387-98. doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000446108.12915.65.

Unruptured intracranial aneurysms: screening and management.



Unruptured intracranial aneurysms are found commonly in the general public, and more frequently in certain populations. This article focuses on the epidemiology, screening strategies, and management options for patients with unruptured aneurysms.


Recent epidemiologic studies show the overall prevalence of intracranial aneurysms to be approximately 3%, with higher rates seen in familial aneurysm syndromes and in certain medical conditions, such as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney syndrome. Aneurysm treatment may include surgical or endovascular techniques, with increasing utilization of endovascular strategies over time. Increased aneurysm diameter, certain locations, and other anatomical considerations may be associated with higher risks of aneurysm rupture.


Given the high morbidity and mortality associated with aneurysm rupture, screening for unruptured aneurysms is generally recommended for high-risk patients (patients who have at least two first-degree relatives with aneurysms, and patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease). Screening may be considered for other patients (eg, one first-degree relative with aneurysm) after discussion of the risks and benefits of imaging. Following identification of an aneurysm, decisions regarding observation or treatment should be based on patient characteristics, features of the aneurysm, and provider expertise.

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