Widening and High Inclination of the Middle Cerebral Artery Bifurcation Are Associated With Presence of Aneurysms
Background and Purpose—The middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcation is a preferred site for aneurysm formation. Wider bifurcation angles have been correlated with increased risk of aneurysm formation. We hypothesized a link between the presence of MCA aneurysms and the angle morphology of the bifurcation.
Methods—Three-dimensional rotational angiography volumes of 146 MCA bifurcations (62 aneurysmal) were evaluated for angle morphology: parent–daughter angles (larger daughter Ф1, smaller daughter Ф2), bifurcation angle (Ф1+Ф2), and inclination angle (γ) between the parent vessel axis and the plane determined by daughter vessel axes. Statistics were evaluated using Wilcoxon rank-sum analysis and area under the receiver operator characteristic curve.
Results—Aneurysmal bifurcations had wider inclination angle γ (median 57.8° versus 15.4°; P<0.0001). Seventy-five percent of aneurysmal MCAs had γ >10°, compared with 25% nonaneurysmal. Ф1 and Ф2, but especially Ф1+Ф2, were significantly larger in aneurysmal bifurcations (median 171.3° versus 98.1°; P<0.0001). Sixty-seven percent of aneurysmal bifurcations had Ф1+Ф2 >161°, compared with 0% nonaneurysmal MCAs. An optimal threshold of 140° was established for Ф1+Ф2 (area under the curve, 0.98). Sixty-eight percent of aneurysms originated off the daughter branches. Seventy-six percent of them originated off the branch with the largest branching angle, specifically if this was the smaller daughter branch. Wider Ф1+Ф2 correlated with aneurysm neck width, but not dome size.
Conclusions—MCA bifurcations harboring aneurysms have significantly larger branching angles and more often originate off the branch with the largest angle. Wider inclination angle is strongly correlated with aneurysm presence, a novel finding. The results point to altered wall shear stress regulation as a possible factor in aneurysm development and progression.
- Received March 8, 2014.
- Revision received June 3, 2014.
- Accepted July 1, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.