About brain aneurysms

What is a cerebral aneurysm?

Cerebral aneurysms (also called intracranial aneurysms or berry aneurysms) are bulging, weakened areas in the wall of an artery in the brain, resulting in an abnormal widening, ballooning, or bleb. Because there is a weakened spot in the aneurysm wall, there is a risk for rupture (bursting) of the aneurysm.

About cerebral aneurysms

The approach to cerebral aneurysms depends on the presentation. A ruptured aneurysm requires urgent treatment and intensive care support but an unruptured aneurysm requires assessment and elective treatment.

Unruptured cerebral aneurysms

These are usually incidentally discovered aneurysms. They are normally discovered during investigations or scans relating to other unrelated conditions.

Symptoms of unruptured aneurysms are rare but include visual disturbance, cranial nerve palsy and rarely headache.
These aneurysms can be treated to prevent catastrophic and life threatening rupture.
However not all cerebral aneurysms need to be treated as the risk of rupture or  haemorrhage is dependent on the size and location of the aneurysm.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss the indications, risks and benefits of treatment procedures.

Unruptured cerebral aneurysms

Ruptured cerebral aneurysms

A ruptured cerebral aneurysm causes bleeding around the surface of the brain called subarachnoid haemorrhage.

A ruptured aneurysm presents with a “thunderclap” sudden severe headache and there is usually associated neck stiffness. Patients may have depressed consciousness or coma, confusion, photophobia and neurological deficit.

This is a very serious condition with a high mortality rate. Twelve percent of patients die before even reaching the hospital.
If left untreated the mortality is 60% over the first month with significant mortality and morbidity even when treated optimally.

The major factor that determines the outcome is the re rupture rate which is about 2% per day for the first few weeks.  A re rupture has a 50% mortality rate.

This is therefore a very serious condition and the most effective way of improving prognosis is the prevention of re rupture. Early treatment therefore improves the outcome.

Ruptured cerebral aneurysms