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Lethal subarachnoid haemorrhage in a patient with rete mirabile network of the posterior circulation with associated aneurysm
  1. Stavros Matsoukas,
  2. Johanna T Fifi and
  3. Tomoyoshi Shigematsu
  1. Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stavros Matsoukas; stavrosmatsoukas{at}


Rete mirabile (RM), an arterial network normally existing in some vertebrate animals interconnecting the extracranial and intracranial arterial circulation, can rarely be found in humans whether asymptomatic or presenting with cerebral ischaemia or haemorrhage. Encompassing diverse angiographic characteristics and similarities with other arterial malformations, proper diagnosis and differential diagnosis is challenging. We hereby describe an unusual RM case variant, presenting to us with lethal subarachnoid haemorrhage owing to a ruptured small aneurysm associated with the RM network. Angiography disclosed an absent P1 segment of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) and an RM network anastomosing the basilar apex with the normal distal PCA. Brain death was confirmed on the fifth day after admission and attributed to the severity of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). This is an exceedingly rare case representing an intradural-to-intradural RM anastomosis in a patient presenting with lethal SAH. RM epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentation, angiographic findings and prognosis are reviewed.

  • neurology
  • neuroimaging
  • neuro ITU

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  • Contributors The case was managed by TS (senior author) and JTF who also helped with final edits and images selection. The case report was drafted and brought to a final form by SM (lead author).

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.