Familial intracranial aneurysms. A review.
A familial occurrence of intracranial aneurysms is defined by the presence of such aneurysms in two or more first to third-degree family members. Families with two affected members may represent accidental aggregation. Other families show a frequency compatible with an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance. A genetic basis is also suggested by the younger average age of familial cases with a ruptured intracranial aneurysm (42.3 years versus an age range of 50-54 years for nonfamilial cases), occurrence at the same site or a mirror site in sibling pairs, occurrence in identical twins, and the association of intracranial aneurysms with genetically transmitted disorders.
No reliable data are available about the occurrence of familial intracranial aneurysms among all patients with ruptured aneurysms; a frequency of 6.7% has been reported from a retrospective study, but a large part of the "familial" occurrence can be explained by fortuitous aggregation. The pathogenesis of familial intracranial aneurysms is not fully explained; a (partial) deficiency of type III collagen has been reported in sporadic, but not in familial, cases. Clinical decision analysis shows how the risk of harboring an intracranial aneurysm and the age of the patient are the main determinants for elective screening; lifetime risk of rupture (and therefore age) and surgical risks are the determinants for neurosurgical treatment.
Surgical treatment is recommended for patients aged less than 70 years with a moderate or low surgical risk, and screening (preferably by intra-arterial digital subtraction angiography) is recommended only for relatives aged 35-65 years. Magnetic resonance angiography may develop into a useful alternative for screening, but the risks of diagnostic procedures play only a minor role in the decision analysis.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association