Brain Aneurysm - Describe Your Experience

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Brain Aneurysm Overview

Brain aneurysms occur because of weakness in the wall of an artery in the brain that allows 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 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.

Return to Aneurysm

See what others are saying

Comment from: karliexojordan, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

I'm 17 and I just had two aneurysms clipped on November 18th. The way it was discovered was accidentally through and MRI. For a few months I had been having blackouts in my right eye that lasted 1-5 minutes. I had these every few months. Finally, I got it checked and that is how it was found. I had one large one, and a smaller one forming. My grandfather and great uncle died from ruptured aneurysms, so I am at risk because of heredity. The artery that these were found on is very weak and I have a chance of getting another. I went to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston for my surgery, and to the Children's Hospital for recovery. The doctors that I had seem to think that the eye blackouts are not related to the aneurysm. It is still a mystery. I've had some complications since my surgery, and right now I'm waiting for results that will determine whether I had a seizure, stroke, or if have a blood clot, or numerous other possibilities. This was a terrifying experience for me, and I like to share my story because I am proud of myself and how far I have come. I am so thankful to be here today.

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Comment from: sheila, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

When my aneurism burst I got dizzy and sick with my stomach. I lay down and went to sleep for a while, when I awoke I wasn't dizzy any more but I had a bad head ache for 6 days. I assumed I had caught the flu, I had been around friends who simultaneously got the flu from each other. I had never had bad headaches and this was the worst. My mom suffered from migraines so I thought I was going to be like mom with migraines. I was wrong; on the 6th day in the early morning paralysis started setting in and my tummy got upset. An ambulance was called and for the next 23 days I spent in intensive care with a touch and go prognosis. They had discovered the problem with a spinal tap and an MRI; they treated me for high blood pressure, apparently it is what caused it to burst. They coiled it 3 times, apparently my veins on the brain are tiny. I am now receiving annual angiograms to monitor a second aneurism on the opposite side that has not burst. It is potentially fatal because of the area it is in and I've been told that I will experience very different symptoms.

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