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neuroendovascular coiling, subarachnoid hemorrhage, surgical clipping, unruptured intracranial aneurysms, watchful waiting



  1. Wagner, Michele MSN, RN, CNRN
  2. Stenger, Karen MA, RN, CCRN


It is estimated that approximately 10 to 15 million Americans have intracranial aneurysms. Intracranial aneurysms are classified as either unruptured or ruptured. Advances in knowledge and technology are enhancing diagnosis, management, and outcomes associated with unruptured intracranial aneurysms. Optimal outcomes are achieved when aneurysms are treated before they rupture. If the aneurysm ruptures, the mortality rate ranges from 30% to 60%. A review of evidence regarding aneurysms, including the pathogenesis, risk factors, treatment options, and outcomes, is presented. Treatment options addressed include surgical clipping, endovascular coiling, or watchful waiting. Current evidence supports aggressive treatment for patients with previously ruptured aneurysms, large or symptomatic aneurysms, a family history of aneurysm rupture, a long life expectancy, and aneurysms demonstrating growth. Factors that favor watchful waiting include aneurysms that are small or located in the anterior circulation and in patients with a short life expectancy or comorbid medical conditions. Nurses are in an ideal position to use evidence and outcomes to provide accurate and current information on how to reduce the risks for rupture and evaluate treatment options.