Brain Aneurysm

Aneurysm, Brain Health Summary
An aneurysm is a weakened area of a blood vessel that causes ballooning or bulging. Rapid diagnosis and treatment of an aneurysm can help prevent serious consequences.
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Brain Aneurysm Overview

Brain aneurysms occur because of weakness in the wall of an artery in the brain that causes a small bulging or ballooning.

An aneurysm by itself does not cause symptoms and may be found in up to 10% of the population.

Symptoms occur when blood leaks from the artery into the subarachnoid space (the area that surrounds the brain and spinal cord that is filled with cerebrospinal fluid) or into adjacent brain tissue and causes inflammation or even brain tissue compression. Severe headache, stiff neck, and vomiting most commonly occur.

Usually, there is a sentinel or "warning" headache with a small leak of blood. This is a sign that one should seek help and have his or her symptoms evaluated. The second bleed tends to be more catastrophic, causing significant brain damage.

The diagnosis of brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage includes a high index of suspicion by the physician. A CT scan of the brain is the first test and is helpful 95% of the time. A lumbar puncture may be performed to look for bleeding if the CT scan is normal and an aneurysm has not been ruled out.

Treatment for a ruptured aneurysm depends upon the patient's presentation and potential for recovery. Neurosurgery to place a clip across the aneurysm or interventional radiology to place platinum coils into the aneurysm may be appropriate options.

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