An aneurysm is an area within an artery that has become weaker, and over time, under normal blood pressure, tends to balloon outward, and the aneurysm can have different shapes, so sometimes, it’s just part of the wall that balloons out of the side, sometimes it’s the whole artery that starts to expand, it can occur within any of the blood vessels going to the brain, or within the brain itself, and what we worry about most with aneurysms, is that that area of the wall is weak, and can therefore burst or rupture, and that can cause a bleed in the brain.
Patients can have major neurologic problems after a hemorrhage. So what we try to do when we discover an aneurysm, before it has caused a problem, is to try to assess the risk posed by that aneurysm, come up with a treatment strategy that is an as low risk as possible, and then put that treatment into place before the aneurysm becomes symptomatic. If a patient arrives having already had a problem from the aneurysm, especially if they’ve had a bleed already, then it’s really very important to have all hands on deck and try to treat that as quickly as possible.
There’s a very high risk of having a second bleed once an aneurysm has already ruptured. There’re really two possible approaches towards an aneurysm. The internal treatment is endovascular, which means we try to treat it from inside the blood vessel, and that involves putting a catheter up into the blood vessel. We typically go into an artery in the leg. That’s a big, safe artery to use. And that catheter is guided up to the vessel in the neck, from which the aneurysm eventually comes when it gets to the brain.
If we’re going to treat it from inside the blood vessel, what we then do is put a second catheter, which is even smaller than the first one, and that goes up inside that first catheter all the way up into the brain, and with the tip of the catheter, we enter the aneurysm itself, and we can then put out into the aneurysm specialized metal coils, that are designed in particular sizes and shapes, to pack the inside of the aneurysm, with the coil, as tightly as we possibly can. In other cases, the better thing to do is to operate from the outside.
If you’re inflating a balloon, and there’s the neck of the balloon, the little small part that you blow up within your mouth, that’s the part where the air is getting into the balloon, and with an aneurysm, that’s the part where blood is getting into the weak part of the aneurysm. If you, at operation, can find where that neck is, where that narrow part that the blood is getting in, you can put a little tiny clip to pinch off the neck, and what happens is you stop the blood from leaking out where it’s not supposed to be, and you close off the little weak spot in the pipe, in the blood vessel.
Hopefully what happens, is normal blood continues to travel through the normal blood vessel, keeping the brain healthy and preventing a stroke, but the weak spot has been pinched off and closed, hopefully curing the aneurysm. The decision of whether to actively treat an aneurysm or follow it is often a difficult one, and many factors go into it. When we discover very small aneurysms, we’re more inclined to follow them, at least initially. When we discover a larger aneurysm that makes us more concerned, we aim to treat that faster.
This is something where having a group of experts all in one spot and people who have seen these diseases before, can really inform the decisions we make, so we make the best and safest decisions. While nothing’s perfect, we can make them as close to perfect as possible by really leveraging all the expertise we have in one center. 9 Warning Signs of a Brain Aneurysm can be classified as unruptured or ruptured. Brain aneurysms are potentially life-threatening, especially if they burst.
Healthline describes a brain aneurysm as awakening in an area of the brain’s arterial wall that causes it to bulge and fill with blood. Brain aneurysms can develop in anyone at any age. Several conditions and lifestyle choices are more likely to cause the development of a brain aneurysm including autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, Marfan’s syndrome, some traumatic brain injuries, serious systemic infections, family history, smoking, drug abuse, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
In addition, women over 40 are at higher risk for developing a brain aneurysm. Brain damage or death can occur when a brain aneurysm ruptures. A sudden and severe headache Nausea and vomiting Stiff neck Blurred or double vision Sensitivity to light Convulsive seizures Drooping eyelid(s) Loss of consciousness Confusion According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, an estimated 50 to 80 percent of brain aneurysms do not rupture. Annually, about 30,000 people suffer from a ruptured brain aneurysm, with approximately 40 percent of cases resulting in death.
A brain aneurysm is often unruptured and small enough that a doctor may want to monitor it over time and watch for changes instead of performing surgery. Some unruptured brain aneurysms can cause pressure on the brain and lead to painful or disruptive symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, and speech changes. Some unruptured aneurysms do not cause any symptoms and may be found inadvertently while performing diagnostic testing for another condition.
In order to diagnose and treat a brain aneurysm, a doctor may perform a CT scan or MRI. Treatment for a brain aneurysm depends on the size, location, and severity of the aneurysm, says Healthline. Pain medications are often prescribed to treat head and eye pain. Medication may also be prescribed to prevent blood vessel blockages or to relieve cranial pressure. Surgery may be performed to cut off blood flow to the brain aneurysm or to make repairs but only if the aneurysm is accessible. Survival and recovery rates increase when people seek immediate help after the rupture of a brain aneurysm.
The symptoms associated with an aneurysm are usually nothing. What I mean by that is is that most people with aneurysms donat know that they have them. They’re very small and they don’t really produce any pressure or cause any problems with the brain. However, as they do get larger, in some instances, they can begin to push on a nerve that might affect your vision or might affect other functions like hearing, but usually, they come to our attention because there’s a hemorrhage, and that is a very dramatic event.
Generally, it’s associated with a very, severe headache. Sometimes people will lose consciousness. There can be nausea, there can be vomiting, there could be a stiff neck and there could be any number of stroke-like types of problems such as weakness or loss of sensation or speech difficulties.5 Facts and Symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm Would you realize if you, or someone you loved, was suffering a brain aneurysm? According to data surveyed by The LisaColagrossi Foundation (TLCF).
After the survey results revealed that 93-percent of Americans admitted their knowledge about brain aneurysms ranged from limited to non-existent. Scary stuff, however, here’s how you can identify all the signs and symptoms of an aneurysm…
1.What’s a Brain Aneurysm? The Langone Medical Center at New York University explains that a brain aneurysm results due to weakness in the wall of a blood vessel within the brain. As the strength in the vessel’s wall deteriorates, blood flow pressure can cause a bulge and rupture that causes blood to flow out (or bleed) into space and tissue around the brain.
2. Un-Ruptured AneurysmsResearch from the Lisa Colagrossi Foundation (TLCF) indicates that up to 9-percent of theU.S. population are currently living with un-ruptured aneurysms. In fact, if the aneurysm never ruptures, many folks will never realize it’s existence. The TLCF data notes that an MRI or image scan can identify an aneurysm, but your doctor may not suggest treatment if it’s smaller if it doesn’t pose a risk for leakage or rupture.
3. Primary Signs of a Ruptured AneurysmThe most notable signals that an aneurysm has ruptured is a blinding headache (usually right behind the eyes).which may be accompanied by a tingling sensation in the face and neck, as well as potential light sensitivity and neck stiffness. Patients may also suffer extreme fatigue, weakness of the limbs, blurred vision, and seizure. In rarer cases, patients describe a sensation of being “hit by lightning” and a loud “boom” as the aneurysm ruptures.
4. When a Rupture Occurs… When a brain aneurysm leaks or ruptures, even a tiny leak will cause tremendous irritation and immense blood pressure within the brain. The leak may only occur for a few seconds before a platelet plug forms. In addition, if a leak or rupture occurs, the essential blood supply will be cut off to vital areas and may cause the patient to lose consciousness. The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery claims that a subarachnoid hemorrhage is fatal for between 10- to 20-percent of patients before they ever reach the hospital. A ruptured aneurysm is fatal for between 40-to 50-percent within the next 30 days.
5. Seek Emergency Medical Help immediately if you or a loved one experiences the above symptoms, don’t delay, call for an ambulance immediately! If it is a leak or rupture in the brain, time is of the essence. According to further data from the Lisa ColagrossiFoundation (TLCF), roughly one-third of patients still die or experience a lasting cognitive impairment following emergency treatment for a ruptured aneurysm.