Death resulting from ruptured cerebral artery aneurysm: 219 Cases

Morna Gonsoulin, Jeffrey J. Barnard, Joseph A. Prahlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


To characterize the demographics of ruptured cerebral artery aneurysm as a cause of death and to examine the effect of improved diagnostic and therapeutic techniques on the incidence of sudden death associated with the condition, the authors reviewed 219 autopsies performed at the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office between 1977 and 1997 in which the cause of death was ruptured cerebral artery aneurysm. Ruptured cerebral artery aneurysms accounted for 1.5% of 15,033 natural deaths and 0.4% of all deaths (45,492) followed by autopsy during this period. The majority (56%) of cases occurred in females, with Caucasian females composing the largest group (38%). Seventy-seven percent of cases occurred in individuals between the ages of 31 and 70 years, with the highest concentration in the 41- to 50-year decade (29%). The most common location for ruptured aneurysms was the middle cerebral artery distribution (39%). Multiple aneurysms occurred in 22 (9.1%) cases. Other factors, such as medical history, coexisting disease, symptoms, activity at onset of symptoms, survival time, and toxicology results are also presented. Compared with literature reports before 1980, when ruptured cerebral artery aneurysms were reported as the cause of death in approximately 4% to 5% of sudden natural deaths, the results of this study suggest that despite improved diagnostic and therapeutic techniques during the past two decades, morbidity and mortality from ruptured aneurysms remain a significant health problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 25 2002


  • Aneurysm
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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