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Understanding Cerebral Aneurysms

Last updated 4 years ago

An aneurysm is a protrusion of a blood vessel wall. When this occurs in a blood vessel in the brain, it is called a cerebral aneurysm. While some aneurysms never cause any symptoms, others can cause life-threatening complications, especially when they rupture. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm, it’s important to get to a hospital right away for emergency care.

What Are the Causes?

Many different things can cause cerebral aneurysms. In some cases, they are congenital and caused by an abnormality in an artery wall at birth. They are also common in people with genetic connective tissue disorders and polycystic kidney disease, as well as people with circulatory disorders. Head traumas, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and smoking can all increase the risk of aneurysms. Doctors also suspect that drug use—particularly cocaine—and the use of oral contraceptives could also increase the odds of a person having an aneurysm.

What Are the Symptoms?

Cerebral aneurysms can cause pain behind the eye, drooping eyelids, speech impairment, different-sized pupils, and numbness or weakness on one side of the body. However, most aneurysms do not cause symptoms until they rupture. When that occurs, most patients experience headaches, vomiting, stiffness, and confusion. Loss of consciousness and seizures are also possible. People with these symptoms should get emergency care at a hospital right away.

What Are the Treatment Options?

Finding the right treatment for an aneurysm depends on many factors, including its size, location, risk of rupture, and symptoms. Monitoring the aneurysm for changes may be all that some patients require, while surgery may be recommended for others. When aneurysms rupture, treatment depends on what effects are caused. Ruptured aneurysms may cause hemorrhagic strokes, hydrocephalus, vasospasm, or coma. Emergency treatment will be tailored to address the specific condition.

If you or a loved one experiences the symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm, get immediate care in the emergency room at Northside Hospital, where you’ll have full access to our Neuroscience Institute team of doctors for care. Our neurologists also help treat and manage unruptured aneurysms and a range of other conditions, including stroke. Get more information by calling (888) 598-9586. 


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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