A cerebral aneurysm arises from a weak spot in the wall of an artery in the brain which leads to a balloon-like out pouching or sac. Cerebral aneurysms occur more commonly in women than men, and occur mainly in adults, and are rare in children.
A small, unchanging aneurysm may produce no symptoms. However, aneurysms are at risk for rupturing and causing bleeding in the brain. When an aneurysm ruptures, the patient may experience a sudden and usually severe headache (“worst headache of my life”), nausea, vision impairment, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Onset is usually sudden and without warning.
Diagnosis of a cerebral aneurysm is usually by CT angiogram, MR angiogram, and sometimes a catheter cerebral angiogram. If an aneurysm is suspected of rupturing, a head CT scan can diagnose the blood. A lumbar puncture may be necessary to confirm the suspicion of blood from an aneurysm rupture.
Ruptured aneurysms are a medical emergency. Early surgery or endovascular coiling is mandatory to prevent further bleeding and death. Patients with ruptured aneurysms can be expected to remain in the hospital for several weeks.
The treatment of unruptured aneurysms is based on each patient’s unique attributes. Treatments include open surgical clipping, endovascular minimally invasive coiling, stenting and the placement of liquid embolic agents through microcatheters.
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