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A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain. The bulge is filled with blood. It can put pressure on parts of the brain. The blood vessel can also burst and cause bleeding in the brain. Finding an aneurysm early can help prevent severe or fatal problems in some people.
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Brain aneurysms are caused by weakness in the walls of a brain artery. This may be due to aging, genes, and certain conditions.
Brain aneurysms are more common in older adults and women. Other things that raise the risk are:
Symptoms may include:
A leaking or burst aneurysm may cause:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Treatment depends on the type, size, and site of the aneurysm. It also depends on the person's health.
If the aneurysm is not leaking or burst, options may be:
Procedures may be done to prevent or treat a burst aneurysm. They include:
Therapy can help with physical function, speech, and coping—for those who had a burst aneurysm
A brain aneurysm cannot always be prevented. To help reduce the risk:
Brain Aneurysm Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Brain Injury Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Cerebral aneurysm. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Cerebral-Aneurysm. Accessed September 6, 2021.
Cerebral aneurysms fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Cerebral-Aneurysms-Fact-Sheet. Accessed September 6, 2021.
Flow diversion on aneurysms with stents. Neurology and Neurosurgery—Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/aneurysm/treatment/flow-diversion.html. Accessed September 6, 2021.
Hu S, Yu N, et al. A meta-analysis of risk factors for the formation of de novo intracranial aneurysms. Neurosurgery. 2019;85(4):454-465.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/subarachnoid-hemorrhage. Accessed September 6, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA Last Updated: 9/6/2021