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Cerebral Aneurysm Information Page
Synonym:
Aneurysm, Brain Aneurysm

Table of Contents
What is Cerebral Aneurysm?
Is there any treatment?
What is the prognosis?
What research is being done?
Organizations

What is Cerebral Aneurysm?
A cerebral aneurysm is the dilation, bulging or ballooning out of part of the wall of a vein or artery in the brain. The disorder may result from congenital defects or from other conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries), or head trauma. Cerebral aneurysms can occur at any age, although they are more common in adults than in children and are slightly more common in women than in men. The signs and symptoms of an unruptured cerebral aneurysm will partly depend on its size and rate of growth. For example, a small, unchanging aneurysm will generally produce no symptoms, whereas a larger aneurysm that is steadily growing may produce symptoms such as loss of feeling in the face or problems with the eyes. Immediately before an aneurysm ruptures, an individual may experience such symptoms as a sudden and usually severe headache, nausea, vision impairment, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Rupture of a cerebral aneurysm usually results in bleeding in the brain, causing a hemhorrhagic stroke. Or blood can leak into the area surrounding the brain and develop into an intracranial hematoma (a blood clot within the skull). Rebleeding, hydrocephalus (the excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid), vasospasm (spasm of the blood vessels), or additional aneurysms may also occur.

Is there any treatment?
Emergency treatment for individuals with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm generally includes restoring deteriorating respiration and reducing intracranial pressure. Surgery is usually performed within the first 3 days to clip the ruptured aneurysm and to reduce the risk of rebleeding. When aneurysms are discovered before rupture occurs, microcoil thrombosis or balloon embolization may be performed on patients for whom surgery is considered too risky. During these procedures, a thin, hollow tube (catheter) is inserted through an artery to travel up to the brain. Once the catheter reaches the aneurysm, tiny balloons or coils are used to block blood flow through the aneurysm. Other treatments may include bed rest, drug therapy, or hypertensive-hypervolemic therapy (which elevates blood pressure, increases blood volume, and thins the blood) to drive blood flow through and around blocked arteries and control vasospasm.

What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for a patient with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm depends on the extent and location of the aneurysm, the person's age, general health, and neurological condition. Some individuals with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm die from the initial bleeding. Other individuals with cerebral aneurysm recover with little or no neurological deficit. Early diagnosis and treatment are important.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports a broad range of basic and clinical research aimed at finding better ways to prevent and treat cerebrovascular disorders such as cerebral aneurysms.

Organizations

Brain Aneurysm Foundation
12 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
information@bafound.org
http://www.bafound.org/
Tel: 617-723-3870
Fax: 617-723-8672

Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

Last updated December 03, 2004

   
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Last updated Saturday, September 27, 2014.

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