A small, unchanging aneurysm will produce no to little symptoms. Before a larger aneurysm ruptures, the individual may experience such symptoms as a sudden and unusually severe headache, nausea, vision impairment, vomiting, and loss of consciousness, or the individual may be asymptomatic, experiencing no symptoms at all.
Onset is usually sudden and without warning. Rupture of a cerebral aneurysm is dangerous and usually results in bleeding into the meninges or the brain itself, leading to a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) or intracranial hematoma (ICH), either of which constitutes a stroke. Rebleeding, hydrocephalus (the excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid), vasospasm (spasm, or narrowing, of the blood vessels), or multiple aneurysms may also occur. The risk of rupture from an unruptured cerebral aneurysm varies according to the size of an aneurysm, with the risk rising as the aneurysm size increases.
The overall rate of aneurysm rupture is estimated at 1.3% per year, resulting in approximately 27,000 new cases of SAH in the United States per year. Vascular narrowing, however, is only one component of the transient inflammatory injury, which is extensive.
Vasospasm is monitored in a variety of ways. Non-invasive methods include transcranial Doppler, which is a method of measuring the velocity of blood in the cerebral arteries using ultrasound. As the vessels narrow due to vasospasm, the velocity of blood increases. The amount of blood reaching the brain can also be measured by CT or MRI or nuclear perfusion scanning.
The definitive, but invasive method of detecting vasospasm is cerebral angiography. It is generally agreed that in order to prevent or reduce the risk of permanent neurological deficits, or even death, vasospasm should be treated aggressively. This is usually performed by early delivery of drug and fluid therapy, or 'Triple H' (hypertensive-hypervolemic-hemodilution therapy) (which elevates blood pressure, increases blood volume, and thins the blood) to drive blood flow through and around blocked arteries. For patients who are refractive (resistant) to Triple H therapy, narrowed arteries in the brain can be treated with medication delivered into the arteries that are in spasm and with balloon angioplasty to widen the arteries and increase blood flow to the brain. Although the effectiveness of these treatments is well established, angioplasty and other treatments delivered by interventional radiologists have been in evolution over the past several years. It is generally recommended that aneurysms be evaluated at specialty centers which provide both neurosurgical and interventional radiology treatment and which also permit angioplasty, if needed, without transfer.
This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article on
All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.