A cerebral or brain aneurysm is a condition in which a weakness in the brain’s arterial wall get word down with blood flow and begins to bulge outward as it fills with blood. This aneurysm can stretch and expand to reach the size of a small berry. The condition may also be described as an intracranial or cerebral aneurysm. The condition may sound terrifying, but in most people, it causes no symptoms. However, it can be life-threatening in cases, particularly when an aneurysm grows big or ruptures. A ruptured aneurysm requires urgent medical care as it can cause stroke, brain damage, or death if not addressed swiftly.
Symptoms of Aneurysm
There may be no symptoms in cases of unruptured or small brain aneurysms, but if it grows the aneurysm can exert pressure on brain tissue and nerves causing symptoms even if unruptured. These include:
- Pain located just behind or above one eye,
- Dilation of the pupil,
- Visual changes including double vision,
- Loss of sensation on one side of the face.
If an aneurysm begins to leak blood it can also cause sudden and severe headaches. This requires quick medical attention as this is often followed by a rupture. Symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm include:
- Severe headache
- Uneasiness, nausea, and vomiting
- Stiffness in the neck
- Visual changes including blurry vision, double vision, and light sensitivity.
- Disorientation and seizures
- Drooping of an eyelid
- Loss of consciousness
Causes of Aneurysm
Brain aneurysms are usually associated with age, typically developing in adults over the age of 40. However, children can experience aneurysms because of congenital blood vessel defects, head trauma, genetic disorders, or connective tissue disorders. Aneurysms also usually develop where blood vessels branch off towards the base of the brain as these sections are weaker. Risk factors for developing brain aneurysms can include the presence of underlying conditions such as:
- Hypertension or atherosclerosis
- Connective tissue disorders
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Head trauma
- Certain infections
- Tumor growth or cancer in the head or neck
- Family history of the condition
Lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol abuse and drug abuse can also increase the risk of brain aneurysms.
Tests that are commonly used in the diagnosis of brain aneurysms include:
CT Scans – This imaging test, allows doctors to observe blood flow in the brain and detect the presence of aneurysms.
MRIs – Similar to CT scans, MRIs generate highly detailed images of the brain and blood vessels, helping doctors diagnose aneurysms that measure 3 to 5 millimetres.
Angiogram – This is a more invasive procedure in which a contrast dye is introduced into blood vessels in the neck via a catheter, but is performed under general anesthesia. It is the most effective method of diagnosis for brain aneurysms, showing a detailed map of all blood vessels in the brain.
Cerebrospinal fluid test – Spinal fluid is drawn to detect the presence of blood, which indicates rupture of an aneurysm. This is performed under local anesthesia and is only recommended when your doctor suspects a ruptured aneurysm.
Small aneurysms that haven’t ruptured may be managed with home treatments and medications alone. However, if there is a risk of rupture or in case of ruptured aneurysms, there are two primary treatments:
Surgical clipping – This is a procedure to clip a blood vessel and stop blood flow to the aneurysm. To perform the procedure a neurosurgeon will remove a section of the skull and seal it back after the procedure.
Endovascular coiling – This procedure doesn’t require surgery and is instead performed through the insertion of a catheter into an artery. A soft platinum via is threaded through the catheter and coiled inside the aneurysm to seal it off and stop blood flow to the aneurysm.
Flow diverter surgery – This is a more advanced treatment that is used for larger brain aneurysms. It involves the insertion of a stent into the artery, diverting blood flow away from the aneurysm.
Doctors will also prescribe medications to treat symptoms and lower the risk of complications.
Why Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital for Brain Aneurysm Treatment?
Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital is home to some of India’s leading neurosurgeons who are skilled at complex and advanced procedures needed to treat brain aneurysms. With high success rates and state-of-the-art facilities, patients can expect the best possible care.