Aneurysm formation and rupture within the petrous internal carotid artery (ICA) is an extremely rare occurrence with approximately 10 such cases in the literature. Etiologies of petrous ICA aneurysms include atherosclerosis, closed head trauma, iatrogenic injury during mastoid surgery, chronic middle ear infections, and congenital causes. Therapeutic options include carotid artery ligation, aneurysm resection with or without reconstruction, and radiographically controlled vessel occlusion. The case of a patient who presented with otorrhagia, epistaxis, and transient focal neurologic signs due to a ruptured petrous ICA aneurysm is presented. The incidence, etiology, and anatomy of these aneurysms is reviewed, and the various tests for determining adequacy of collateral cerebral blood flow are described. Factors that affect the selection of surgical versus radiologic control of these lesions are also discussed.
© 1991, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.