Brain Aneurysm

Arteries are tubes that carry blood to all parts of the body, including the brain. Sometimes the walls of an artery can weaken and bulge – much like water under pressure can create a bulge in a worn garden hose. This bulge is called an aneurysm. If an aneurysm in your brain bursts, it can cause a hemorrhagic stroke.

The causes of a brain aneurysm are unknown, but your risk of developing an aneurysm may be increased by family history, high blood pressure or cholesterol, or smoking.

Symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm

Unfortunately, most aneurysms don’t have symptoms – until they rupture. Call 9-1-1, and seek immediate medical attention if you suddenly experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Seizure

Diagnosis of a Brain Aneurysm

Non-invasive imaging tests can be used to detect a brain aneurysm. With computed tomographic angiography (CTA), a special dye is injected into a vein and images are taken to look for any abnormalities. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) uses a magnetic resonance scanner to find an aneurysm.

A cerebral angiogram is more invasive but almost always more reliable. While lying on an X-ray table, a small tube is inserted through a blood vessel in your groin and guided into blood vessels in your neck that go to your brain. Dye is injected and then pictures are taken.

Treatment of a Brain Aneurysm

Two common treatments for a ruptured brain aneurysm include surgical clipping and endovascular coiling.

Surgical clipping involves cutting through your skull to locate the blood vessel connected to the aneurysm. Then a clip is placed on the aneurysm to cut off blood flow.

For endovascular coiling, a surgeon runs a small tube (catheter) through your groin to the aneurysm. Then a tiny wire is pushed through the catheter and into the aneurysm. The wire coils up in the aneurysm and disrupts the blood flow.

Our medical team offers advanced care options and will provide the best treatment for you. Whether you need screening, monitoring, medications or surgery, you can count on Mercy to do everything possible to successfully treat cerebral aneurysms – if not prevent them altogether.

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