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Cerebral aneurysm


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Aneurysm means bulging artery resulting from weakening of the artery wall. When this happens with the artery supplying blood to the brain then the condition is called cerebral aneurysm. It is commonly defined as “balloons” or “berries” in the arterial wall.

Symptoms of cerebral aneurysm

Brain aneurysms usually do not cause symptoms and they get detected while getting treated for other health issues. Yet, bulging of the artery might press other areas of the brain due to which one might suffer the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  •  Pain in neck
  •  Blurriness in vision
  •  Confusion, seizures
  •  Drooping eyelid
  •  Pain behind eyes
  •  Increased sensitivity to light
  •  Dilated pupil
  •  Numbness or paralysis of face

The symptoms might differ as per the type of aneurysm which could be ruptured and leaking (blood) and unruptured.


Causes of cerebral aneurysm

There’s no specific reason behind cerebral aneurysms. However there are several risk factors that contribute to weakness in the walls of arteries, especially present at the base of the brain.

Contributing risk factors for brain aneurysms are:

  • With age- above 65 years
  • Family history of cerebral aneurysm
  • Being overweight and obese
  • Consumption of unhealthy diet and excess salt in food
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis
  • Addiction to smoking, alcohol and illegal drugs like cocaine
  • Injury to brain or any other part of head
  • Congenital conditions- e.g. autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, coarctation of the aorta, etc. 


When to see a doctor

“Severe and unbearable headache along with seizures is a warning sign and never delay to call for emergency help. 


Complications of cerebral aneurysm

Although a rare instance, leaking brain aneurysm can cause hemorrhagic stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage. Ruptured aneurysm can further narrow the blood vessels of the brain and block supply of blood to brain cells. Permanent damage to brain cells can also occur from subarachnoid hemorrhage. 


Diagnosis of cerebral aneurysm

Screening tests are offered for individual having family history of cerebral aneurysm or any other congenital risks associated with cerebral aneurysm.

Your doctor would analyse the symptoms in your eyes which is a significant part. Other symptoms will also be evaluated. Your medical history, consumption of medicines, lifestyle and diet, etc. will also be analysed.

You have to undergo CT scan, MRI and cerebral angiogram in the brain that would help to assess the arteries in details. The cerebrospinal fluid would be extracted with a technique known as lumbar puncture to look for red blood cells in case of ruptured or leaking aneurysm.

Leaking cerebral aneurysm is treated as an emergency medical situation


Treatment of cerebral aneurysm

Treatment of cerebral aneurysm is complicated as it entails evaluating several other factors before operating on your brain. If your aneurysm is small and it not affecting your much, then your doctor would rather not conduct a surgery. In case of big bulges or leaking aneurysms, two treatment choices are generally opted for:

  • Surgical clipping: insertion of small metal clip around the aneurysm to cut off from the artery that supplies blood to it.
  • Embolization: Placement of a small tube inside the artery that occurs near the aneurysm. It could be coiled embolization or mesh embolization.

There are several risks associated with the aforementioned surgical techniques. The size and location of the aneurysm, patient’s age, general health and several other related things would be measured before conducting surgery.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 27, 2014