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Mortality and causes of death in the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm study


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.
  • Funding: This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS R01 NS39512) National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.



Higher mortality for patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage has been reported.


In families with intracranial aneurysms, we sought to determine whether mortality among subjects with intracranial aneurysm (affected) was higher and related to rupture, compared with unaffected family members.


Subjects enrolled in the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm protocol were contacted yearly and their status was obtained. If reported to be deceased, the cause of death was verified by available records. A Cox proportional hazards model was utilized to compare mortality rates.


Of the 2794 subjects, 1073 were affected and 1721 were unaffected. There were 8525 person-years of follow-up (mean 3·05 ± 1·73 years) and 85 deaths. Age at study entry for the affected (58·4 ± 11·9 years) was significantly older (P < 0·0001) than for the unaffected (52·2 ± 16·1). After adjusting for age, the overall mortality rate for the affected subjects was not significantly different from that for the unaffected (Rate Ratio [RR] 1·26, 95% confidence interval 0·82–1·93, P = 0·292). There was a strong effect modification due to age. The mortality rate ratio of the affected to the unaffected who were ≤60 years of age was RR = 3·48 (95% confidence interval: 1·59–7·63, P = 0·002), the rate for the affected subjects who were ≥60 was less than the rate for the unaffected (RR = 0·69, 95% confidence interval: 0·404–1·19, P = 0·178). The affected who had ruptures had 2·62 times the mortality rate as those without ruptures (95% confidence interval 1·43–4·80, P = 0·002).


The overall mortality was similar for the affected and unaffected subjects in this cohort. Among the affected only, those with ruptured intracranial aneurysm had a higher mortality rate than those without ruptured.