The natural history of cerebral aneurysms was investigated by measuring the prevalence of incidentally found unruptured aneurysms in the general population and evaluating the characteristics including risk factors. ‘De novo’ formation of aneurysm was also demographically estimated. The prevalence of incidental aneurysm was evaluated among 4518 patients who underwent magnetic resonance (MR) angiography for various reasons in a neurosurgical institute. Double the number of patients were randomly selected from the remaining patients without aneurysm as the Control group so that sex and age group were matched to the Aneurysm group. 127 patients (2.8%) had diagnoses of aneurysm. The prevalence of asymptomatic aneurysm among middle-aged and elderly patients was predominant in women and increased with age in both sexes. Patients with aneurysms had significantly more hypertension and family history of subarachnoid hemorrhage compared to the controls. The prevalence was markedly increased in the 8th decade in men and the 7th decade in women, and new aneurysms seemed to develop predominantly around these decades. Cerebral aneurysms become detectable on MR angiography in the middle or later decades, and women tend to develop aneurysm earlier than men. Hypertension and family history of subarachnoid hemorrhage are probably risk factors for the development of aneurysm.
2002 by The Japan Neurosurgical Society