A brain aneurysm is a serious condition that requires emergency medical care if it ruptures. At St. Joseph’s Hospital, our experienced neurosurgery team provides fast, expert treatment to ensure the best possible recovery and outcome for our patients.
What is a Brain Aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is a weak section in a wall of an artery in your brain. Over time, the weak section balloons out and fills with blood. A brain aneurysm may rupture and cause severe bleeding (hemorrhaging) in the brain.
Although most brain aneurysms don’t show symptoms, they can be life threatening. If a brain aneurysm does rupture, it can lead to stroke or death, without immediate medical attention. Learn more the care offered by our Stroke Center.
What Causes Brain Aneurysm?
Some known causes and risk factors of brain aneurysm include:
- Inherited conditions that raise blood pressure, which weakens arteries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can cause a dissecting aneurysm
- Severe infection anywhere in the body that can damage arteries
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Arteriovenous malformation
- Atherosclerosis: Circulatory disease in which fatty deposits accumulate inside artery walls
Symptoms of Brain Aneurysm
People who have a brain aneurysm often don’t know it until it gets very large or ruptures. Signs and symptoms of a large aneurysm include:
- Drooping eyelid
- Double vision or other vision problems
- Pain above or behind the eye
- Dilated pupil
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the face or body
If a brain aneurysm ruptures, it can cause severe bleeding in the brain. Please get immediate medical attention for anyone who has these symptoms:
- Sudden, severe headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff neck
- Loss of consciousness
- Signs of a stroke: sudden weakness, difficulty speaking and paralysis especially on one side of the body, among others
How is Brain Aneurysm Diagnosed?
A brain aneurysm may be difficult to detect in a routine physical exam. If you have a family history of aneurysms or any risk factors, your doctor may order one or more of the following tests:
- MRI or CT scans: Imaging test that takes pictures of your brain tissue and arteries to find problems with arteries or bleeding
- Spinal tap: Procedure that takes a fluid sample from your spinal cord to detect bleeding in the brain
- Cerebral angiogram: Test that uses X-rays to look for leaks or blockage in your brain’s blood vessels
Treatments for Brain Aneurysm
At St. Joseph’s Hospital, we treat brain aneurysms to prevent them from rupturing. We also provide expert emergency care for people with ruptured brain aneurysms. We offer the following treatment options:
- Endovascular embolization: Uses tiny metal coils (embolization coiling) or other substances to cut off blood supply to problematic blood vessels.
- Surgical clipping: Procedure that seals off the aneurysm with a tiny metal pin, usually made of titanium
Read more about endovascular embolization and surgical clipping at St. Joseph’s.
For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.