A cerebral aneurysm, also referred to as brain aneurysm, is the dilation of part of the wall of an artery in the brain. It may occur at any age, although it is more common in adults than in children. Cerebral aneurysms generally form where arteries fork because those areas are weaker from the start.
As an aneurysm gets bigger, the arterial wall thins. The thinning of arterial wall can leak or rupture leading to bleeding into the brain. A ruptured brain aneurysm is life threatening and requires immediate treatment.
The symptoms of an unruptured cerebral aneurysm partly depend on its size and rate of growth. A small, unchanging aneurysm may not exhibit symptoms, whereas a larger aneurysm that is steadily growing may show symptoms such as loss of feeling in the face or problems with the eyes.
After an aneurysm ruptures, an individual may immediately experience sudden or unusually severe headache, nausea, vision impairment, vomiting or loss of consciousness.
For unruptured aneurysms, treatment may be recommended for large or irregularly-shaped aneurysms or for those causing symptoms. Those with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm need emergency treatment that restores deteriorating respiration and reduce abnormally high pressure within the brain.
The treatment becomes necessary so as to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing again. Surgery prevents repeat aneurysm rupture by placing a metal clip at the base of the aneurysm. Patients for whom surgery is considered too risky may be treated by inserting the tip of a catheter into an artery in the groin and advancing it through the blood stream to the site of the aneurysm, where it is used to insert metal coils that induce clot formation within the aneurysm.
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