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Brain aneurysms

One out of 15 people in the
United States will develop a
brain aneurysm in their lifetime

A brain aneurysm occurs when part of an artery wall weakens and swells. A ruptured aneurysm occurs when that artery bursts, releasing blood into the brain. An aneurysm can result from a head injury, disease or congenital problem present from birth.

The following can be symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm:

  • Sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches
  • Severe neck pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea with vomiting
  • Seizures

Brain aneurysms are serious. If an aneurysm ruptures, the bleeding into the brain that results is known as hemorrhagic stroke. If not treated quickly, aneurysms can cause severe, permanent disability or death.

Diagnosing brain aneurysms

When treating a brain aneurysm, every second counts. Your dedicated care team at Novant Health can quickly locate aneurysms to determine the most effective treatment. Our talented clinicians use neuroimaging technology to diagnose brain aneurysms:

Computed tomography (CT) – Uses a sophisticated X-ray machine and computer to help physicians find an aneurysm and find bleeding in the brain.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Uses powerful magnets to show a 3-D image of an aneurysm.

Biplane angiography – Used to locate an aneurysm with dye that is injected into an artery. X-rays follow its flow throughout the blood vessels of the brain.

Most brain aneurysms that have not ruptured do not cause symptoms and are only found during tests for unrelated conditions; however, some aneurysms that have not ruptured can cause symptoms by putting pressure on the brain.

When a brain aneurysm ruptures, symptoms are usually sudden and severe. A ruptured brain aneurysm is a life-threatening medical emergency.

If you or a loved one experience the above symptoms, immediately call

911

Treating brain aneurysms

The most important part of treating an aneurysm is monitoring it to ensure that it does not rupture. The specialized care teams at Novant Health use advanced procedures to repair or seal off the aneurysm:

Endovascular coil – A surgeon threads tiny catheters through blood vessels into the problem area of the brain to place platinum coils inside the aneurysm to seal it off and keep it from bursting.

Endovascular stent – Device used to reinforce the walls of a blood vessel to keep it from bursting.

Extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass – The procedure routes blood flow around a blocked part of a blood vessel to restore blood flow to the brain.

Microsurgery – A low-risk procedure in which the surgeon can remove small, easy-to-reach aneurysms.

Learn more about brain aneurysms

Our world-class facilities feature specialty programs such as an Aneurysm Clinic, through which a physician expert and dedicated care team follow patients with brain aneurysms for a minimum of five years in an outpatient setting and perform procedures in the hospital, if necessary.

We also provide neuroscience navigators at many of our facilities to help you understand your disease process and access the services you need to get well and stay healthy.

At Novant Health, we’re with you every step of the way on your journey, whether you have an aneurysm that has not ruptured or are recovering from a life-threatening emergency.

If you or a loved one experiences the symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm, call 911 immediately. If you need care for a brain aneurysm that has not ruptured, contact us for help today.