A cerebral aneurysm is a kind of balloon that forms on the wall of a weakened artery in the brain. The pressure of blood in the artery can cause the aneurysm to grow progressively, which can cause tissue rupture and, consequently, hemorrhage in the brain.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), two out of every 100 people have an aneurysm in the brain, but most have no symptoms and will only find out if the disease gets worse. This illness can be confused with stroke or migraine, so it is important to see a specialist if you have frequent headaches.
In this article, the NotreDame Intermédica Group takes questions about the symptoms and treatments of cerebral aneurysm.
There are two types of aneurysm: non-ruptured (not ruptured) or ruptured aneurysm (ruptured). The non-ruptured aneurysm can present frequent headaches as a symptom; when it breaks, in addition to the more severe headache, the aneurysm can cause the nape of the neck to become rigid or papilledema, that is, swelling in the optic disc, when examining the eyes.
Sudden and severe pain in the head, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness and stiffness in the neck can also indicate cerebral aneurysm. Symptoms may also include blurred vision, loss of strength, coordination or tenderness and seizures. However, the signs only appear when the disease is advanced or the aneurysm is ruptured and there is bleeding.
This disease is caused by an injury to the blood vessel wall of the brain. The patient may have been born with the aneurysm or developed later. Some factors can influence, such as:
– Genetics : about 15% of patients with cerebral aneurysm have relatives with the disease;
– Hypertension : the increase in blood pressure can facilitate the onset of aneurysm;
– Cholesterol, triglycerides and diabetes : as in the case of infarction (LINK), the large amount of sugars and fat in the blood can cause damage to the walls of the vessels, veins and arteries, causing aneurysm or stroke if the injury is in the brain;
– Excessive consumption of alcohol and cigarettes
To diagnose the aneurysm, the doctor may indicate several tests such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging of the head. Angiotomography and magnetic resonance angiography are also essential, as they help to locate the aneurysm and also show its size. In addition, eye exams can show brain pressure and aid in diagnosis.
There are two ways to treat cerebral aneurysm: open surgery or endoarterial. In the first, the goal is to isolate the aneurysm so that if there is a rupture, bleeding does not occur. For this, the skull is opened to perform an aneurysm clipping. In order to perform the endoarterial, catheters are used in the region from the groin to the brain to fill the aneurysm with springs or a special glue. The procedure aims to reduce pressure on the injured area of the artery and decrease the risk of a rupture.
Only a specialist doctor can indicate the best treatment and will do so based on a risk analysis and patient history.