Background and Purpose: Vertebrobasilar non-saccular and dolichoectatic aneurysms (VBDA) are a rare type of aneurysm and are generally associated with poor prognosis. In order to better characterize the natural history of VBDAs, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature to determine rates of mortality, growth, rupture, ischemia, and intraparenchymal hemorrhage. Materials and Methods: We searched the literature for longitudinal natural history studies of VBDA patients reporting clinical and imaging outcomes. Studied outcomes included annualized rates of growth, rupture, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and mortality. We also studied the association between aneurysm morphology (dolichoectatic versus fusiform) and natural history. Meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model using summary statistics from included studies. Results: Fifteen studies with 827 patients and 5,093 patient-years were included. The overall annual mortality rate among patients with VBDAs was 13%/year (95% CI 8–19). Patients with fusiform aneurysms had a higher mortality rate than those with dolichoectatic aneurysms, but this did not reach statistical significance (12 vs. 8%, p = 0.11). The overall growth rate was 6%/year (95% CI 4–13). Patients with fusiform aneurysms had higher growth rates than those with dolichoectatic aneurysms (12 vs. 3%, p < 0.0001). The overall rupture rate was 3%/year (95% CI 1–5). Patients with fusiform aneurysms had higher rupture rates than those with dolichoectatic aneurysms (3 vs. 0%, p < 0.0001). The overall rate of ischemic stroke was 6%/year (95% CI 4–9). Patients with dolichoectatic aneurysms had higher ischemic stroke rates than those with fusiform aneurysms, but this did not reach statistical significance (8 vs. 4%, p = 0.13). The overall rate of ICH was 2%/year (95% CI 0–8) with no difference in rates between dolichoectatic and fusiform aneurysms (2 vs. 2%, p = 0.65). Conclusion: In general, the natural history of VBDAs is poor. However, dolichoectatic and fusiform VBDAs appear to have distinct natural histories with substantially higher growth and rupture associated with fusiform aneurysms. These findings suggest that these aneurysms should be considered separate entities. Further studies on the natural history of vertebrobasilar dolichoectatic and fusiform aneurysms with more complete follow-up are needed to better understand the risk factors for progression of these aneurysms.
- Intracranial aneurysm
- Natural history
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine