[Dolichoectatic intracranial arteries

Author(s): Casas Parera I, Abruzzi M, Lehkuniec E, Schuster G, Muchnik S


Dolichoectasia of intracranial arteries is an infrequent disease with an incidence less than 0.05% in general population. It represents 7% of all intracranial aneurysms. Commonly seen in middle age patients with severe atherosclerosis and hypertension, the affected arteries include the basilar artery, supraclinoid segment of the internal carotid artery, middle, anterior and posterior cerebral arteries; males are more frequently affected. The clinical features of these fusiform aneurysms are divided in three categories: ische-mic, cranial nerve compression and signs from mass effect. Hemorrhage may also occur. Nine patients with symptomatic cerebral blood vessel dolichoectasias are presented. Six of them were males with moderate or severe hypertension. Lesions were confined to the basilar artery in 3 cases, carotid arteries and the middle cerebral artery in 1 case, and both systems were affected in 4 patients. Middle cerebral arteries were affected in 5 cases and the anterior cerebral artery in one. An isolated fusiform aneurysm of the posterior cerebral artery is also presented (case 8) (Table 3). Motor or sensory deficits, ataxia, dementia, hemifacial spasm and parkinsonism were observed. One patient died from cerebro-meningeal hemorrhage (Table 2). All patients were studied with computerized axial tomography of the brain, 5 cases with four vessel cerebral angiography, 4 cases with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and case 5 with MRI angiography. Clinical symptoms depend on the affected vascular territory, size of the aneurysm and compression of adjacent structures. The histopathologic findings are atheromatous lesions, disruption of the internal elastic membrane and fibrosis of the muscular wall. The resultant is a diffuse deficiency of the muscular wall and the internal elastic membrane. Recent advances in neuroimaging such as better resolution of CT scan, magnetic resonance images (MRI) and MRI angiography increased the diagnosis of this pathology showing clearly the affected vessels. This avoids the use of conventional or digital subtraction angiography, reserved only for diagnosing suspected saccular aneurysm, evidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage or planning surgical treatment. The treatment of this entity may be medical or surgical. There is evidence suggesting a more favorable outcome with anticoagulation therapy, although antiaggregation is a reasonable alternative. In our experience no difference in clinical outcome was evident. Surgical treatment of this type of aneurysm includes intra- or extracranial occlusion of parent artery, clipping or aneurysm trapping, tourniquet occlusion, and circumferential wrapping with clip reinforcement. Endovascular occlusion has been accomplished with detachable balloon technique or coils. No surgical attempt was done in our cases. The prognosis is variable depending on the patients age, vessels involved and clinical complications.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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