WE REVIEWED 38 cases of aneurysms of the vertebral artery treated over the last 10 years: 26 (68%) located at the junction of the vertebral and posterior inferior cerebellar arteries, 10 (26%) at the vertebral artery, and 2 (5%) at the vertebrobasilar union. There were three distinct forms of aneurysms: 20 saccular (53%), 10 fusiform (26%), and 8 dissecting (21%). Among these 38 aneurysms, 33 (87%) had ruptured: 18 of the saccular aneurysms (90%), all 10 of the fusiform aneurysms (100%), and 5 of the dissecting aneurysms (63%). Computed tomography of the 28 ruptured aneurysms revealed diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage in the basal cistern combined with intraventricular hemorrhage in 24 cases (86%). Magnetic resonance imaging was useful for differentiating between fusiform and dissecting aneurysms. Abnormalities such as a double lumen of the vertebral artery were demonstrated in four of the dissecting aneurysms. The overall surgical results were good for 22 of the 27 surgically treated cases (81%). New bleeding was observed in 8 (24%) of the 33 ruptured aneurysms. The rate of new bleeding was high (60%) in the patients with dissecting aneurysms, and occurred mostly in the acute stage. The incidence of vasospasm was 27%, and only two patients suffered permanent neurological deficits. These findings indicate that the rate of new bleeding tends to be high in patients with saccular and dissecting aneurysms, and thus, they should be treated as early as possible. A preoperative balloon occlusion test should be conducted if proximal occlusion of the vertebral artery is necessary, since proximal occlusion is not always safe, despite angiographic evidence of sufficient contralateral arterial flow.
Department of Neurosurgery, Gifu University School of Medicine (TA, SS, TN, YN, NS, HY), Department of Neurosurgery, Gifu Prefectural Hospital (AO), Department of Neurosurgery, Gifu City Hospital (YT), Gifu, Japan, and Department of Neurosurgery, General Daiyuhkai Hospital (TF), Ichinomiya, Japan
Reprint requests: Takashi Andoh, Department of Neurosurgery, Gifu University School of Medicine, 40 Tsukasa-machi, Gifu City, 500 Japan.
Received, January 28, 1992. Accepted, July 16, 1992.