Charcot-Bouchard aneurysms

Charcot-Bouchard aneurysms are minute aneurysms which develop as a result of chronic hypertension and appear most commonly in the basal ganglia and other areas such as the thalamus, pons and cerebellum, where there are small penetrating vessels (diameter < 300 micrometres) 1-3.

They should not be confused with saccular aneurysms found in larger intracranial vessels in the subarachnoid space 1,4.

Rupture of Charcot-Bouchard aneurysms is the most common cause of intracerebral haemorrhage and is commonly seen in patients on anticoagulation 2.

Patients will present depending on the region and size of the haemorrhage.

  • putamen haemorrhage usually presents with ipsilateral deviation of the eyes due to descending capsular pathways from the frontal eye field
  • thalamic haemorrhage often presents with downward deviation of eyes and lack of pupillary response to light
  • pontine haemorrhage usually causes coma due to disruption of the reticular activating system (unless small) and quadriparesis due to disruption of the corticospinal tract 4

Chronic hypertension causes lipohyalinosis of small arterioles so that there is a defect in the muscular coat and only a thin intimal layer with some surrounding gliosis 3. This makes Charcot-Bouchard Aneurysms prone to rupture, with the inability to control bleeding by vasomotor spasm 3.

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Article Information

rID: 40553
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Miliary aneurysm
  • Microaneurysm

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