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, potentially causing symptoms. In addition, the blood vessel can rupture (hemorrhage). Early detection and diagnosis may help prevent severe or fatal complications in some patients. 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. 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)
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:
Your doctor may need to monitor you to see if the aneurysm gets larger or begins to leak.
Medicines are not used to fix an aneurysm. Medicines may be used to help lower blood pressure, treat pain, or stop side effects of the aneurysm, like seizures.
During this procedure, a catheter is thread 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 or occlusion.
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 getting a brain aneurysm or having it burst, take the following steps:
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Mayo Clinic. Brain aneurysm. Mayo Clinic website. Available at:
. Accessed October 28, 2010.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Cerebral aneurysm fact sheet.
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. Updated February 3, 2010. Accessed April 26, 2010.
Vlak M, Rinkel, Gabriel J, et al.
Trigger factors and their attributable risk for rupture of intracranial aneurysms: a case-crossover study.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.