An aneurysm is an outpouching of a blood vessel wall. This can occur anywhere there are blood vessels, including in the brain. The bulging, blood-filled pocket can put pressure on parts of the brain. In addition, the blood vessel can rupture, causing bleeding in the brain. Early detection and diagnosis may help prevent severe or fatal complications in some people. Many aneurysms go unnoticed for a lifetime and cause no symptoms.
These factors increase your chance of developing a brain aneurysm. These risk factors also increase your chance of a rupture. Older adults are more likely to develop an aneurysm than children. Females are at slightly higher risk. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Genetic diseases—circulatory, connective tissue, or polycystic kidney disease
angiography using dye contrast test to view the arteries and veins
to test the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Other medical conditions, lifestyle factors, as well as the type, size, and location of the aneurysm will direct treatment. For a known aneurysm that is not leaking or ruptured, treatment options include the following:
The aneurysm will be monitored for changes in size or to see if it is leaking. You will be monitored for the appearance of symptoms.
Medications are not used to fix an aneurysm. They may be used to help lower blood pressure, treat pain, or stop side effects of the aneurysm such as seizures.
During this procedure, a catheter is threaded up to the aneurysm. Coils, a special liquid, or balloons are used to fill the aneurysm and stop circulation, causing it to clot. This may need to be done more than once.
Surgical options include:
Microvascular clipping—A neurosurgeon cuts off blood flow to the aneurysm.
Microvascular occlusion—A neurosurgeon clamps off the entire artery leading to the aneurysm. Sometimes a bypass procedure (rerouting a new blood vessel) is done too.
In many cases, there is no known way to prevent an aneurysm from forming. To help reduce your chances of a brain aneurysm or having it burst:
Control high blood pressure.
smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
Do not use illegal drugs.
Discuss with your doctor:
Benefits and risks of oral contraceptives
Whether it is safe to use daily aspirin or other pain medications that may thin the blood
Cerebral aneurysm. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Cerebral-Aneurysm. Updated . Accessed March 1, 2018.
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. Updated May 10, 2017. Accessed March 1, 2018.
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