Aneurysm

An aneurysm is an abnormal dilation of a blood vessel. A rupture can lead to bleeding (hemorrhage) into the brain tissue or surrounding lining of the brain, which is called the arachnoid.

Symptoms

Ruptured aneurysm: A sudden “thunderclap” headache, nausea, vomiting, vision changes, numbness, weakness, speech impairment and seizures.

Unruptured aneurysm: No symptoms, double vision, loss of vision, headache, eye or neck pain, seizures.

About this Condition

An aneurysm is an abnormal dilation of a blood vessel. Most people never realize they have a cerebral aneurysm until it hemorrhages. However, some larger aneurysms can press on other areas of the brain, producing the symptoms listed above.

A rupture can lead to bleeding (hemorrhage) into the brain tissue or surrounding lining of the brain, which is called the arachnoid. The space between the brain and the surrounding membrane is called the subarachnoid space, and bleeding into this space is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Many aneurysms do not rupture. However, aneurysms that do rupture can lead to stroke and death. Approximately 20,000 people in the United States suffer a subarachnoid hemorrhage each year.

 

 

This content is for your general education only. See your doctor for a professional diagnosis and to discuss an appropriate treatment plan.

Conservative Treatments

Monitoring

The decision to treat an unruptured aneurysm depends on a number of factors, including the type, location and size of the aneurysm, your age and your general health. Most unruptured aneurysms that are less than 5 millimeters across—about the size of a pencil eraser—have a relatively low chance of rupturing.  If you have a large aneurysm that has not burst, especially if it is pressing against brain tissue and causing symptoms such as headaches or impaired vision, you are more likely to need treatment.

Medications for a Ruptured Aneurysm

Once an aneurysm has ruptured, anticonvulsant medications can prevent seizures, analgesics may relieve headache symptoms and calcium channel blockers can help widen narrowed blood vessels.

Surgery

Aneurysm Clipping/Coiling

The decision to treat an unruptured aneurysm depends on a number of factors, including the type, location and size of the aneurysm, your age and your general health. If the aneurysm has ruptured, clips may be placed at the base of the aneurysm to seal it off from the parent vessel. An aneurysm coiling is another procedure which can treat an aneurysm and is less invasive than surgical clipping.

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Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt for an Aneurysm

The clotted blood of a ruptured aneurysm may cause excess cerebrospinal fluid to collect in your brain (hydrocephalus). This fluid may need to be drained with a shunt system. Surgery is performed to place a flexible silicone rubber tube (shunt) and a valve. This system drains excess fluid out of your brain and into your abdominal cavity.

Please keep in mind that all treatments and outcomes are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, and bowel or bladder problems are some of the potential adverse risks of surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results and other important medical information.