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IDIBGI and Trueta Hospital research how to improve the prediction of brain aneurysm rupture

20 June 2023
  • The ANEUGIR project, led by neurologists from the Trueta Stroke Unit, aims to identify biomarkers in blood and brain MRI to detect the presence of aneurysms and also to assess their risk of rupture, and is promoted by the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII).
  • The research team is appealing for people who want to take part in the study. Volunteers will undergo a medical visit, a blood test and a brain MRI scan, and will be followed up after two years.

Researchers at the Biomedical Research Institute of Girona (IDIBGI) and the Dr. Josep Trueta Hospital have launched a research project to assess the risk of rupture of brain aneurysms using blood tests and advanced brain magnetic resonance techniques. The project, called ANEUGIR, is headed by the neurologist and neurointerventionist of the Neurology Service of the Hospital Trueta, Mikel Terceño, who is also a researcher in the Cerebrovascular Pathology group at IDIBGI, and is funded by the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII).

A brain aneurysm occurs when the wall of a blood vessel in the brain widens, producing a "sac" or "pouch" that bulges at that point in the vessel. Generally, aneurysms have no symptoms, but if they grow or rupture, they can produce a life-threatening haemorrhagic stroke called a subarachnoidal haemorrhage, which is the type of stroke with the highest morbidity and mortality rate and the one that affects the youngest people. The associated mortality rate is 35%, causing a permanent work disability of approximately 36% among those affected.

Rupture of a brain aneurysm can occur at any age and in any person, although it is more common in women than in men and particularly affects people between 40 and 70 years of age. Risk factors for developing a brain aneurysm include high blood pressure, smoking and family history.

The prevalence of intracranial aneurysms is approximately 3% and causes between 6 and 9 cases of intracranial haemorrhage per 100,000 inhabitants per year. In the Girona Health Region there are between 30 and 40 cases of ruptured brain aneurysm per year, and in the Neurointerventional Unit of the Hospital Trueta, a reference in the region, more than 100 cases of brain aneurysms are assessed annually.

Predicting aneurysm rupture before it occurs

Being able to predict the risk of growth and rupture of cerebral aneurysms is key to treating them before they occur, avoiding the negative consequences they can have on the lives of these people. In this sense, the project aims to identify and validate biomarkers in blood that correlate with the presence of a brain aneurysm that has not been detected, as well as with the instability of the aneurysm wall and its possible rupture.

Finding these biomarkers may open the door to being able to identify and assess these cases through a simple blood test and MRI techniques on the patient, both non-invasive tests with no negative effects, as is the case with ionising radiation from other diagnostic tests such as CT scans and cerebral angiography. In addition, these methods would also make it possible to detect cases that are currently only identified when the stroke has already occurred, or by tests carried out in other circumstances, such as brain MRI scans carried out following a migraine episode or ischaemic stroke.

Call for participation in the study

To conduct the study, the project will carry out blood tests and MRI scans on around 80 patients with brain aneurysms and 40 healthy people. The team is therefore calling for volunteers between 40 and 75 years of age to participate.

Interested persons can contact the research team by email at so that the research staff can assess whether they meet the criteria for participation and can arrange a first information visit about their participation in the ANEUGIR study.

This study has been funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos (III) through the project PI22/01073 with the title "Study of correlation of blood biomarkers with the uptake of the aneurysmal wall in RM3T for the identification of unstable brain aneurysm: ANEUGIR study", and co-funded by the European Union.


IDIBGI is a biomedical research institute that is part of the CERCA system of the Generalitat de Catalunya, dedicated to translational, clinical and epidemiological research aimed at improving people's health and care. The Institute is made up of 22 research groups that conduct research in six health areas: cardiovascular and respiratory, oncohematology, metabolism and inflammation, neurosciences, mental health and medical imaging. Currently, in addition to having its own research staff, the IDIBGI manages the research carried out by health professionals from the Dr. Josep Trueta and Santa Caterina Hospitals, the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) in Girona, and the Institute of Diagnostic Imaging (IDI).


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