Increased rupture risk in small intracranial aneurysms associated with methamphetamine use

Dylan Noblett, Lotfi Hacein-Bey, Ben Waldau, Jordan Ziegler, Brian C Dahlin, Jennifer Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is the most common cause of nontraumatic SAH. Current guidelines generally recommend observation for unruptured intracranial aneurysms smaller than 7 mm, for those are considered at low risk for spontaneous rupture according to available scoring systems. Objective: We observed a tendency for SAH in small intracranial aneurysms in patients who are methamphetamine users. A retrospective, single center study to characterize the size and location of ruptured and unruptured intracranial aneurysms in methamphetamine users was performed. Materials and methods: Clinical characteristics and patient data were collected via retrospective chart review of patients with intracranial aneurysms and a history of methamphetamine use with a specific focus on aneurysm size and location. Results: A total of 62 patients were identified with at least one intracranial aneurysm and a history of methamphetamine use, yielding 73 intracranial aneurysms (n = 73). The mean largest diameter of unruptured aneurysms (n = 44) was 5.1 mm (median 4.5, SD 2.5 mm), smaller than for ruptured aneurysms (n = 29) with a mean diameter of 6.3 mm (median 5.5, SD 2.5 mm). Aneurysms measuring less than 7 mm presented with SAH in 36.5%. With regard to location, 28% (n = 42) of anterior circulation aneurysms less than 7 mm presented with rupture, in contrast to 70% (n = 10) of posterior circulation aneurysms which were found to be ruptured. Conclusions: Methamphetamine use may be considered a significant risk factor for aneurysmal SAH at a smaller aneurysm size than for other patients. These patients may benefit from a lower threshold for intervention and/or aggressive imaging and clinical follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInterventional Neuroradiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Aneurysm
  • intracranial
  • methamphetamine
  • rupture
  • size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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