A number of factors can contribute to weakness in an artery wall and increase the risk of a brain aneurysm. Brain aneurysms are more common in adults than in children and more common in women than in men.
Some of these risk factors develop over time; others are present at birth.
Risk factors that develop over time
- Older age
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis)
- Drug abuse, particularly the use of cocaine
- Head injury
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Certain blood infections
- Lower estrogen levels after menopause
Risk factors present at birth
May 23, 2014
- Inherited connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, that weaken blood vessels
- Polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disorder that results in fluid-filled sacs in the kidneys and usually increases blood pressure
- Abnormally narrow aorta (coarctation of the aorta), the large blood vessel that delivers oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body
- Cerebral arteriovenous malformation (brain AVM), an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the brain that interrupts the normal flow of blood between them
- Family history of brain aneurysm, particularly a first-degree relative, such as a parent, brother or sister
- Williams LN, et al. Management of unruptured intracranial aneurysms. Neurology Clinical Practice. 2013;3:99.
- Meyers PM, et al. Indications for the performance of intracranial endovascular neurointerventional procedures: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention, Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia, Interdisciplinary Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease, and Interdisciplinary Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research. Circulation. 2009;119:2235.
- Cerebral aneurysm fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_aneurysm/detail_cerebral_aneurysm.htm. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Cerebral aneurysm. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Cerebral%20Aneurysm.aspx. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Singer RJ, et al. Unruptured intracranial aneurysms. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Raper DM, et al. Seizures after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: A systematic review of outcomes. World Neurosurgery. 2013;79:682.
- Brown RD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 9, 2014.
- Brown RD, et al. Screening for brain aneurysm in the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm study: Frequency and predictors of lesion detection. Journal of Neurosurgery. 2008;108:1132.
- Hasan DM, et al. Aspirin as a promising agent for decreasing incidence of cerebral aneurysm. Stroke. 2011;42:3156.
- Lanzino G (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 18, 2014.
- Brinjikji W, et al. Endovascular treatment of intracranial aneurysms with flow diverters: A meta-analysis. Stroke. 2013;44:442.
- Brinjikji W, et al. Estimating the proportion of intracranial aneurysms likely to be amenable to treatment with the pipeline embolization device. Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery. 2013;5:45.
- Stryker Neurovascular. Safety and Effectiveness of an Intracranial Aneurysm Embolization System for Treating Large or Giant Wide Neck Aneurysms (SCENT). ClinicalTrials.gov. http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01716117?term=aneurysm&rank=1. Accessed March 20, 2014.