Aneurysms of Brain

Aneurysms of Brain

What is a brain aneurysm?

Think of a weak spot in a balloon and how it feels stretched out and thin. A brain aneurysm is similar to that. It is a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel inside the brain. That area of blood vessel gets worn out due to constant flow of blood and bulges out like a bubble. It can grow to a size of a berry. In rare cases these aneurysms can grow big and explode.

This will result in a stroke and needs immediate medical treatment since a ruptured aneurysm can cause

  • Cerebral vasospasm: reduced blood flow into brain
  • Hydrocephalus: too much fluid in the brain
  • Coma an death
  • Permanent brain damage

What are the symptoms?

A ruptured aneurysm can cause

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Stiff neck
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Confusion and altered sensorium
  • Seizures

An unruptured aneurysm can cause

  • Headache
  • Dilated pupils
  • Double vision
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Weakness or numbness over one half of the face and body

What are the causes?

  • Atherosclerosis: building up of fat inside the blood vessel
  • High blood pressure
  • Head injury
  • Infection
  • Cancers in head and neck
  • Alcohol binging
  • Family history of aneurysm
  • Smoking and drug abuse

How is it diagnosed?

  • CT scan and CT angiogram
  • MRI and MR angiography
  • Cerebral or brain angiogram
  • Lumbar puncture if there is a suspicion of ruptured aneurysm

How do you treat it?

A ruptured aneurysm should be secured at the earliest to prevent a rebleed. It involves stopping the blood flow into aneurysm and at the same time taking care to avoid any injury to the main vessel.

This can be

  • Surgical clipping: where a part of skull is removed and a metal clip is placed across the opening of the aneurysm to prevent blood flow into it. Then the skull bone is replaced.
  • Endovascular coiling: here a tube is passed into the aneurysm from the groin of the patient and the aneurysm is sealed with metallic coils.
  • Flow diversion: this is a treatment used in very big aneurysms. A stent is placed inside the vessel opposite the opening of the aneurysm and blood flow is diverted.
Surgical clipping Endovascular coiling

What if the aneurysm is not ruptured?

  • Avoid illegal drug abuse
  • Stop smoking
  • Lower blood pressure with diet and exercise
  • Limit your caffeine
  • Avoid lifting weights

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Dr. Sai Sudarsan

Pulse Hospital, Ranchi. India

Call / Whatsapp: +91-7702199330

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