Symptoms Of A Brain Aneurysm
Small aneurysms often do not cause any symptoms. Sometimes, however, a small brain aneurysm might push against nearby blood vessels or other structures in the brain as it grows and lead to mild symptoms, such as headaches or pain around the eyes.
Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms of a growing aneurysm that is pressing on tissue or nerves:
- Blurred or double vision
- Pain above and behind one eye
- Weakness and/or numbness
- Paralysis on one side of the face
Often, these symptoms serve as a warning that prompts diagnosis. Effective treatment can then be started before any more serious symptoms occur.
How A Brain Aneurysm Is Diagnosed
Patients who experience the symptoms of an aneurysm will be given several tests to determine if there has been bleeding into the brain and its surrounding tissues or if they have had a different type of stroke.
If there is bleeding, appropriate treatments will be administered. The tests used to diagnose aneurysms include:
- Cerebrospinal fluid test
What Treatments Are Available
- Medical therapy. Small, unruptured aneurysms that arent creating any symptoms may not need treatment unless they grow, trigger symptoms or rupture. Its very important to have annual check-ups to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol and other medical conditions.
- Neurosurgery.Depending on a persons risk factors, open surgery may be recommended. Patients are placed under general anesthesia, and the neurosurgeon places a surgical clip around the base of the aneurysm.
- Neurointerventionalist/neuroradiologist.Depending on the aneurysms size, location and shape, it may be treatable from inside the blood vessel. This minimally invasive procedure is similar to the cerebral angiogram. However, in addition to taking pictures, a catheter is directed through the blood vessels into the aneurysm itself. Then, using X-ray guidance, the endovascular surgeon carefully places soft platinum micro-coils into the aneurysm and detaches them. The coils stay within the aneurysm and act as a mechanical barrier to blood flow, thus sealing it off
Recommended Reading: Parkinson\’s Disease Midbrain
What Are The Symptoms
Unruptured aneurysm Most cerebral aneurysms do not show symptoms until they either become very large or rupture. Small unchanging aneurysms generally will not produce symptoms.
A larger aneurysm that is steadily growing may press on tissues and nerves causing:
- pain above and behind the eye
- paralysis on one side of the face
- a dilated pupil in the eye
- vision changes or double vision.
Ruptured aneurysmWhen an aneurysm ruptures , one always experiences a sudden and extremely severe headache and may also develop:
- double vision
TypeThere are three types of cerebral aneurysms:
- Saccular aneurysm. A saccular aneurysm is a rounded sac containing blood, that is attached to a main artery or one of its branches. Also known as a berry aneurysm , this is the most common form of cerebral aneurysm. It is typically found on arteries at the base of the brain. Saccular aneurysms occur most often in adults.
- Fusiform aneurysm. A fusiform aneurysm balloons or bulges out on all sides of the artery.
- Mycotic aneurysm. A mycotic aneurysm occurs as the result of an infection that can sometimes affect the arteries in the brain. The infection weakens the artery wall, causing a bulging aneurysm to form.
SizeAneurysms are also classified by size: small, large, and giant.
- Small aneurysms are less than 11 millimeters in diameter .
- Large aneurysms are 11 to 25 millimeters .
- Giant aneurysms are greater than 25 millimeters in diameter .
Contact The Center For Cerebrovascular Diseases
To schedule an appointment with a physician in the Brain Aneurysm Program at the Center for Cerebrovascular Diseases, please contact our Patient Coordinator at: 732-6600. We see new patients with unruptured aneurysms as soon as the next business day.
If you are a physician seeking to refer a patient to the Center for Cerebrovascular Diseases, please call 732-6600 or you can access our physicians office phone numbers. To contact one of our physicians with a question, patient referral or second opinion, you may also email: .
Don’t Miss: Fluoride Neurotoxin 2018
What Are The Chances Of Surviving A Brain Aneurysm
People can go their entire lives not knowing they have an unruptured brain aneurysm. As long as its intact, your odds are good. But there is a risk that the brain aneurysm will rupture, which depends on many factors, including aneurysm size, location and several others. If an aneurysm does rupture, it leaks blood into the space surrounding your brain and sometimes into the brain tissue itself, causing a hemorrhagic stroke.
A ruptured brain aneurysm requires emergency medical treatment. As more time passes with a ruptured aneurysm, the likelihood of death or disability increases. About 75% of people with a ruptured brain aneurysm survive longer than 24 hours. A quarter of the survivors, though, may have life-ending complications within six months.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Brain Aneurysm
Brain aneurysms are quite common. Some people are born with a weakness in an artery in their brain in other people, health conditions, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or a head injury , cause the aneurysm. They are more common in adults and in women, although anyone can have a brain aneurysm.
Also Check: How Does Parkinson Disease Affect Your Memory
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing An Aneurysm
There are different types of aneurysm, each with their own set of risk factors. For example, brain aneurysms are more common in women over the age of 40, while abdominal aneurysms are more common in men over the age of 65. But some factors increase the risk of developing any aneurysm. These factors can also contribute to the growth of an existing aneurysm, increasing its risk of rupture. They include:
Certain inherited conditions, like and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Some of these factors are out of our control like family history or age. But other factors are things we can change like keeping blood pressure controlled, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
What Happens After A Brain Aneurysm Ruptures
Outcomes/Health Conditions after Aneurysm Rupture or Bleeding:
In case any brain aneurysm ruptures or bleeds, it leaks blood within the space present nearby your brain and it refers to subarachnoid hemorrhage. Based on the exact amount of blood leaked from the space across ones patient, it may produce-
- Severe headache or worst headache of human life, which continue to remain from many hours to a number of days
- Damages/Death Post Ruptured Brain Aneurysm
- Hemorrhage Stroke.
Ruptured form of brain aneurysm or hemorrhage may even lead to direct damage to human brain often because of bleeding takes place within the brain. Neurologists call it as hemorrhage stroke and it results in-
- Paralysis or weakness of a leg or an arm
- Difficulty in understanding language or communicating with others
- Vision problems and seizures.
Neurologists have further observed that a few patients suffer from the problem of vasospasm i.e. irritation because of the leaked blood resulting in narrowing of blood vessels after the problem of ruptured aneurysm. This even causes severe brain damages in patients.
Hydrocephalus, Breathing Difficulty and Infection.
Besides the problem mentioned here, most of the patients may deal with other problems, including the enlargement of spaces present inside the brain and responsible for the production of cerebrospinal fluid.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Bleeding On The Brain In The Elderly
The Warning Signs Of A Brain Aneurysm
The symptoms and signs of a ruptured aneurysm include:
- A severe headache that comes out of nowhere
- Blurred vision
- Drooping eyelids
- Passing out
An unruptured aneurysm might not initially have any symptoms, but that usually changes as it grows larger. The warning signs that indicate a person has developed an unruptured brain aneurysm include:
- Pain behind or above an eye
- Double vision
- Numbness on one side of the patientâs face
Patients are advised to seek immediate medical attention if:
- They have a severe headache that is incomparable in pain to past headaches suddenly occurs
- They have a seizure
- They lose consciousness
What Symptoms Should I Look For
Symptoms of an aneurysm vary with each type and location. Its important to know that aneurysms that occur in the body or brain generally dont present signs or symptoms until they rupture.
Aneurysms that occur near the surface of the body may show signs of swelling and pain. A large mass may also develop. The symptoms of ruptured aneurysms anywhere in the body can include:
Are There Any Warning Signs Before A Brain Aneurysm
The ballooning of a blood vessel located in the brain is called a brain aneurysm. It leads to a bulge developing in the blood vessel, and this can rupture or leak in the brain, causing a type of hemorrhagic stroke known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
A ruptured brain aneurysm is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical care. Brain aneurysms are typically the result of thinning artery walls. They usually form at branches or forks in arteries since these are the weakest parts. They can develop on any part of the brain but typically at the base.
Most people develop brain aneurysms that do not rupture, so they do not lead to any health issues. These types of aneurysms are typically detected while the patient is being tested for some other condition.
Treating a brain aneurysm that has not ruptured might prevent a life-threatening condition from occurring in the future. Each patient’s circumstances are unique, so the doctor will advise them on the best way to proceed if an unruptured aneurysm is detected.
How Are Brain Aneurysms Treated
Surgery and/or endovascular therapy are the treatment for brain aneurysms, whether they are ruptured or unruptured.
Open surgical clipping
During this procedure, your surgeon cuts a small opening in your skull to access the aneurysm. Using a tiny microscope and instruments, your surgeon attaches a small metal clip at the base of the aneurysm to pinch it off. This blocks blood from flowing into the aneurysm. The surgery can stop a brain bleed or keep an intact aneurysm from breaking open. Recovery time is different for ruptured and unruptured aneurysms. This procedure is considered to be durable with a low recurrence rate.
For this procedure, your surgeon doesnt need to create an opening in your skull. Instead, a doctor inserts a catheter in a blood vessel, usually in the groin or wrist, and threads it to your brain.
Through the catheter, your doctor places a ball of wires , most often made of platinum, in the aneurysm, sometimes with the help of small stents or balloons. Recently another small device , which looks like a mesh ball, made of nickel titanium, also became available, and works in a similar fashion as coils. Both methods result in blood clot formation around and inside the wire ball or web device, and block blood flow into the aneurysm, reducing or eliminating the risk of rupture.
Read Also: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze
What Causes Brain Aneurysms To Bleed
Researchers havent discovered exactly what causes an aneurysm to leak or rupture, which causes bleeding in or around the brain. But anything that increases your blood pressure can be dangerous. Higher blood pressure makes blood push harder against blood vessel walls. Things that may increase blood pressure include:
- Ongoing stress or a sudden burst of anger or other strong emotion.
- Working hard to lift, carry or push something heavy like weights or furniture.
- Known high blood pressure that is not treated appropriately with medications.
Whos At Risk For A Brain Aneurysm
Brain aneurysms can affect anyone, but people with atherosclerosis are at high risk of forming brain aneurysms.
The Brain Aneurysm Foundation also states that brain aneurysms are most common in people between 35 and 60 years old. Women are more likely to get aneurysms than men due to low estrogen levels after menopause. If aneurysms run in your immediate family, your risk of having one is higher.
Other risk factors for brain aneurysms include:
- older age
If you have an aneurysm that is leaking, you may only experience a sudden, severe headache.
Seek emergency medical attention right away if you experience one or more of these symptoms.
Don’t Miss: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze
How Is An Aneurysm Treated
Treatment for aneurysm is difficult due to problems accessing parts of the brain, and may only be considered if the aneurysm is considered to be at risk of rupturing or has ruptured already.
Treatment generally involves surgical clipping, where a section of skull is removed and a clip placed over the neck of the aneurysm to stop blood flowing into it, or coiling, where a series of platinum coils are threaded from the patientâs lower body up into the brain aneurysm, filling it with the platinum and stopping blood flow.
Not all treatments are suitable in all cases, and the medical team will be able to advise on this.
Whats The Difference Between A Stroke And A Brain Aneurysm
Strokes and brain aneurysms are similar but not the same, says neurosurgeon Yevgenia Shekhtman, M.D. They both can cause severe damageeven death.
Whats an Aneurysm?
An aneurysm is a weakness in the wall of a blood vessel. The weakness in the wall of a vessel leads to ballooning or bulging, which can eventually lead to a rupture of the wall. When it ruptures, Dr. Shekhtman says, the blood comes out of the artery and damages whatever brain structures are near. An aneurysm can lead to a stroke, but a stroke wont lead to an aneurysm.
Whats a Stroke?
Strokes are medical emergencies that happen when blood flow is impeded. With a thrombotic stroke, a blood clot forms inside an artery, like a clogged pipe, and blocks the blood from getting to a portion of the brain. Another type of stroke, an ischemic stroke, is caused by a blood vessel that spasms and fully or partially closes down. An aneurysm can cause an ischemic stroke, because the blood coming out of the burst blood vessel can irritate the arteries, causing them to spasm.
Risks Factors for Both
Also Check: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze
How Is Brain Aneurysm Treated
Treatment of an unruptured aneurysm may depend on its size and location. If the aneurysm is very small, you will probably be recommended to have regular scans to monitor it, and treatment for any other conditions, such as high blood pressure.
If you have had a burst aneurysm, you will be told to stay in bed and to take pain relief medication for any pain you might have. You will then have surgery to clip the aneurysm so that it does not bleed again.
Another type of surgery involves threading a thin tube through the artery from the groin and using it to insert a tiny metal coil into the aneurysm. This causes a blood clot, which prevents the aneurysm from bursting.
If the aneurysm caused a brain haemorrhage, you may need other treatments for complications, such as reduced blood flow to the brain or fluid on the brain.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Unruptured Brain Aneurysm
The most common signs of an intact aneurysm are headaches. Other signs may include:
- Vision changes.
- MRA .
- CTA .
Occasionally, a ruptured aneurysm may not show on the initial imaging test. If your symptoms point to a ruptured aneurysm, your doctor may order a lumbar puncture . This test shows whether theres blood in the fluid surrounding your brain.
You May Like: What Causes Slow Brain Waves
What Are The Treatments For An Aneurysm
Treatment typically depends on the location and type of aneurysm.
For example, a weak area of a vessel in your chest and abdomen may require a type of surgery called an endovascular stent graft. This minimally invasive procedure may be chosen over traditional open surgery because it involves repairing and reinforcing damaged blood vessels. The procedure also reduces the chance of infection, scarring, and other problems.
Other treatments can include medications that treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Certain types of beta-blockers may also be prescribed to lower blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure may keep your aneurysm from rupturing.
Why Do Aneurysms Matter
Aneurysms usually dont cause any symptoms until they start to lead to complications. The main risk of an aneurysm is that they can bleed, which can happen in two ways:
Artery dissection: This is when the walls of the artery separate, and blood gets in between the layers. This leads to extra blood clotting that can cause a stroke. Or it can tear the vessel completely and cause fatal internal bleeding.
Aneurysm burst or rupture: This is more likely in aneurysms that have grown very big or enlarged quickly over a short period of time. This can cause life-threatening bleeding and is a medical emergency.
Unruptured aneurysms are usually found when someone is getting an imaging study for something unrelated. But once an aneurysm is identified, a healthcare provider can help to determine the best way to treat it. This often depends on the size and location of the aneurysm. Sometimes this includes medications to help prevent a complication like a dissection or rupture. Other times, it can include a procedure to repair it.
Read Also: Bleeding On Both Sides Of The Brain
How Is A Brain Aneurysm Treated
A ruptured aneurysm requires emergency treatment to decrease the likelihood that it will bleed again. Unruptured small aneurysms have low risk of rupture and generally can be monitored regularly. But as their size increases, so does the risk. Larger aneurysms generally are recommended for treatment. Overall, there are many factors that contribute to predicting the future risk of rupture that your neurosurgeon will synthesize together and weigh against your risks of treatment.
The treatment goal for both ruptured and unruptured aneurysm is to reduce the risk of future rupture. This can be done through two ways:
- Endovascular treatment is performed from within the blood vessel by threading a catheter through a blood vessel, up through the body guided by x-ray, to the aneurysm to provide treatment through processes known as coiling and stenting.
- Surgical clipping is a more conventional surgery that requires a bony window in the skull to expose the aneurysm. The neurosurgeon, under a microscope, places a metal clip at the neck of the aneurysm to prevent blood flow into the aneurysm sac.