Differences in Hemodynamics and Rupture Rate of Aneurysms At the Bifurcation of the Basilar and Internal Carotid Arteries

R. Doddasomayajula, George Mason University
Bong Jae Chung, Montclair State University
F. Hamzei-Sichani, INOVA Fairfax Hospital
C. M. Putman, George Mason University
Juan R. Cebral, George Mason University


Background and Purpose: Cerebral aneurysms in the posterior circulation are known to have a higher rupture risk than those in the anterior circulation. We sought to test the hypothesis that differences in hemodynamics can explain the difference in rupture rates. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 117 aneurysms, 63 at the tip of the basilar artery (27 ruptured, 36 unruptured, rupture rate 43%) and 54 at the bifurcation of the internal carotid artery (11 ruptured, 43 unruptured, rupture rate 20%) were analyzed with image-based computational fluid dynamics. Several hemodynamic variables were compared among aneurysms at each location and between ruptured and unruptured aneurysms at each location. RESULTS: On average, aneurysms at the basilar tip had more concentrated inflow (P <.001), a larger inflow rate (P <.001), a larger maximum oscillatory shear index (P <.003), more complex flows (P <.033), and smaller areas under low wall shear stress (P <.001) than aneurysms at the bifurcation of the internal carotid artery. In general, ruptured aneurysms had larger inflow concentration (P <.02), larger shear concentration (P <.02), more complex flows (P <.001), and smaller minimum wall shear stress (P <.003) than unruptured aneurysms. CONCLUSIONS: High flow conditions, characterized by large and concentrated inflow jets, complex and oscillatory flow patterns, and wall shear stress distributions with focalized regions of high shear and large regions of low shear, are associated with aneurysm rupture, especially for basilar tip aneurysms. The higher flow conditions in basilar tip aneurysms could explain their increased rupture risk compared with internal carotid bifurcation aneurysms.