Incidental asymptomatic cerebral aneurysms in patients with extracranial cerebrovascular disease: Is this a case against carotid endarterectomy without arteriography?

Benson K F Yeung, Moise Danielpour, Jon S. Matsumura, Gorav Ailawadi, Hunt Batjer, James S T Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


As less arteriography is performed before carotid surgery, concern arises about missing occult cerebral aneurysms and possible adverse outcomes. A study was conducted by the divisions of vascular surgery and neurosurgery of Northwestern University Medical School to evaluate the frequency of incidental cerebral aneurysms and outcomes of patients with extracranial cerebrovascular disease and asymptomatic cerebral aneurysms. From October 1995, through March 1997, 200 patients underwent intracranial and extracranial cerebrovascular angiography for evaluation of extracranial disease. Demographic data, symptoms, data of vascular lesions, surgical treatment and outcomes of stroke and death were recorded prospectively. Two patients (1%) had asymptomatic cerebral aneurysms found on angiography. Six more patients were referred with a known asymptomatic cerebral aneurysm with extracranial disease during this same period. Of these eight patients, five underwent extracranial vascular reconstruction surgery and seven received treatment for their aneurysms. There were two stroke complications, both occurred after treatment of a basilar artery aneurysm. One of these patients died. No aneurysms ruptured following 203 extracranial revascularizations during this same period. On the basis of the low prevalence of diagnosing coincidental cerebral aneurysms during work-up of extracranial disease, as well as the lack of evidence that carotid surgery predisposes to aneurysm rupture in these patients in both our study and the literature review, it is concluded that coexisting extracranial disease and asymptomatic cerebral aneurysms do not pose a case against carotid surgery without routine arteriography. However, arteriography should be considered in selected groups of patients where the yield of intracranial aneurysms is high; these include patients with a familial history of cerebral aneurysms, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, extracranial internal carotid artery medial fibrodysplasia, Takayasu's arteritis, alpha1-antitripsin deficiency and atypical clinical presentations, including headache. Copyright (C) 2000 The International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-518
Number of pages6
JournalCardiovascular Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000


  • Arteriography
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Cerebral aneurysms
  • Extracranial cerebrovascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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