BE MINDFUL OF BRAIN ANEURYSMS
WHAT IS A BRAIN ANEURYSM?
A cerebral or brain aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in an artery in the brain caused by weakness in the blood vessel wall.
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UNRUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of UNRUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSMS include (but are not limited to)¹:
- Dilated pupils
- Blurred or double vision
- Pain above or behind the eye
If not treated, a brain aneurysm can continue to expand and eventually rupture.
RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSMS include (but are not limited to)¹:
When an aneurysm ruptures (bursts), one always experiences a sudden and extremely severe headache (e.g., the worst headache of one’s life) and may also develop:
- Stiff Neck
- Blurred or Double Vision
- Sensitivity to Light
- Drooping Eyelid
- A Dilated Pupil
- Pain Above and Behind the Eyes
- Loss of Consciousness (this may happen briefly or may be prolonged)
- Weakness and/or Numbness
WHO IS MOST AT RISK FOR DEVELOPING A BRAIN ANEURSYM?¹
INHERITED RISK FACTORS
- Genetic connective tissue disorders that weaken artery walls
- Polycystic kidney disease (numerous cysts in the kidneys)
- Arteriovenous malformations (Snarled tangles of arteries and veins in the brain that disrupt blood flow. Some AVM's develop sporadically or on their own)
- History of aneurysm in a family member(child, sibling, or parent)
OTHER RISK FACTORS DEVELOP OVER TIME
- Untreated high blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Drug abuse, especially cocaine or amphetamines, which raise blood pressure to dangerous levels. Intravenous drug abuse is a cause of infectious mycotic aneurysms
- Age: Over 40
LESS COMMON RISK FACTORS
- Head trauma
- Brain tumor
- Infection in the arterial wall
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR A BRAIN ANEURYSM TO RUPTURE?
Not all brain aneurysms will rupture. Aneurysm characteristics such as size, location, and growth may impact the risk that an aneurysm will rupture. In addition, medical conditions may influence aneurysm rupture.1,3
- Smoking: Linked to development and rupture of aneurysms, and may cause multiple aneurysms to form.
- High blood pressure: Damages and weakens arteries, making aneurysms more likely to form and rupture.
- Size: The largest aneurysms are most likely to rupture in a person who previously did not show symptoms.
- Location: Aneurysms in the arteries in the back of the brain and possibly those in the front have a higher risk of rupturing.
- Growth: Aneurysms that grow are at an increased risk for rupture.
- Family history: Suggests a higher risk of rupture.
- Greatest risk: Occurs in individuals with multiple aneurysms who have suffered a previous rupture or sentinel bleed.
BRAIN ANEURYSM TREATMENT OPTIONS
Treatments for cerebral or brain aneurysm include no treatment, surgical clipping, endovascular embolization, or observation (non-intervention).15,16
INVASIVE SURGICAL CLIPPING
Surgical procedure requiring an opening of the skull. A clip is placed on the neck of the aneurysm to prevent blood flow into the aneurysm.
ENDOVASCULAR COIL EMBOLIZATION
A minimally invasive approach through a small incision in the leg. Coils are placed into the aneurysm to prevent blood flow into aneurysm.
A minimally invasive treatment in which a neurovascular stent is placed in the blood vessel of a brain aneurysm to divert blood flow from the aneurysm. Flow diversion has changed the brain aneurysm treatment landscape.
FIND A PROVIDER
Society of Neurointerventional Surgery (SNIS) provides a resource to locate a doctor in your area.
This is a collaboration to highlight the signs and symptoms of brain aneurysms and provide information about the types of treatments available.
Horikoshi T, Akiyama I, Yamagata Z, Nukui H. Retrospective analysis of the prevalence of asymptomatic cerebral aneurysm in 4518 patients undergoing magnetic resonance angiography. When does cerebral aneurysm develop? Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2002;42:105-113
Asadi H. Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (ASAH). In: Kok HK, Ryan E, Asadi H, Lee M, eds. Interventional Radiology for Medical Students. New York; Springer Nature.2018:173-181
Gomez-Paz S, Kicielinski KP, Salem MM, et al. Who should be screened for unruptured intracranial aneurusms? Neurovasc News. Fall 2019:1-3
Toth G, Cerejo R. Intracranial aneurysms: review of current science and management. Vasc Med. 2018;23(3):276-288
Júnior JR, Telles JPM, da Silva SA, et al. Epidemiological analysis of 1404 patients with intracranial aneurysm followed in a single Brazilian institution. Surg Neurol Int. 2019;10(249):1-5
Eden SV, Meurer WJ, Sánchez BN, et al. Gender and ethnic differences in subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurology. 2008;71:731-735
Neurologic disorders (Chapter 3). In: Professional Guide to Diseases, 9th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009
Smeeton NC, Heuschmann PU, Rudd AG, et al. Incidence of hemorrhagic stroke in black Caribbean, black African, and white populations. Stroke. 2007;38:3133-3138. African-American
Jersey AM, Foster DM. Cerebral aneurysm. StatPearls. June 2020. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507902/
Williams LN, Brown RD Jr. Management of unruptured intracranial aneurysms. Neurol Clin Pract. April 2013:99-108
Cerebral Aneurysms Fact Sheet. NIH Publication No. 18-NS-5506. 2018. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Cerebral-Aneurysms-Fact-Sheet
Sato K, Yoshimoto Y. Risk profile of intracranial aneurysms. Rupture rate is not constant after formation. Stroke. 2011;42:3376-3381
Zhao J, Lin H, Summers R, et al. Current treatment strategies for intracranial aneurysms: an overview. Angiology. 2018;69(1):17-30
Dmytriw AA, Phan K, Moore JM, et al. On flow diversion: the changing landscape of intracerebral aneurysm management. Am J Neuroradiol. 2019;40:591-60