Brain Aneurysms

Brain Aneurysm

Receiving a diagnose of a brain aneurysm can be overwhelming. Getting answers to your questions doesn’t have to be.

As a leader in neurological care, we’re here to treat your condition and walk you through your diagnosis and treatment options. We also want to help you to recognize aneurysm signs and symptoms early so you know when to seek treatment. Being prepared is key.

A brain aneurysm (also known as an intracranial or cerebral aneurysm) is a bulging, weak area in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain. This causes an unusual widening which increases the risk of a rupture. A ruptured aneurysm (also known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage) is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment.

Types of aneurysms

  • Saccular (or berry) aneurysms are the most common — they have a narrow stem, and more than one can be present
  • Fusiform aneurysms bulge on all sides to form a wider artery and are caused by a hardening of the arteries (known as atherosclerosis)
  • Dissecting aneurysms are caused by trauma creating a tear along the inner layer of the artery, causing blood to leak 

Factors that increase the risk of a brain aneurysm

  • Family history
  • Previous aneurysm
  • Female gender
  • Older age
  • Race (African Americans are more likely to have a ruptured hemorrhage)
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking, alcohol and drug use 

Symptoms

Most brain aneurysms are asymptomatic and are discovered during tests for unrelated conditions. An unruptured aneurysm can cause problems by pressing on areas in the brain, causing severe headaches. Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm often come on suddenly and you should seek immediate medical attention if you or a loved one have any of these:

  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Eye pain (including above or behind the eye)
  • Blurred or double vision
  • A drooping eyelid
  • Dilated pupil
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizures
  • Loss of balance, coordination or consciousness
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the face

Treatment

Before deciding on the best treatment for you, your doctor will consider several things, such as your age, size of the aneurysm, any additional risk factors and your overall health.

Know that not all aneurysms need to be treated right away. Very small ones (less than 3 mm) are less likely to rupture, so the type of treatment depends on the shape and location of the aneurysm.

Two treatment options
  1. Endovascular repair is less invasive and involves a catheter that’s inserted through your groin, fixing the aneurysm from inside the artery
  2. Aneurysm clipping opens the skull to locate the aneurysm in the brain, placing a small clip along the base to block normal blood flow

Learn more

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 419-251-6262.
The Mercy Health Neuroscience Institute
2222 Cherry St., Suite M200
Toledo, OH 43608