A cerebral aneurysm is the dilation, bulging, or ballooning out of part of the wall of a vein or artery in the brain. Cerebral aneurysms can occur at any age, although they are more common in adults than in children and are slightly more common in women than in men.
The signs and symptoms of an unruptured cerebral aneurysm will partly depend on its size and rate of growth. For example, a small, unchanging aneurysm will generally produce no symptoms, whereas a larger aneurysm that is steadily growing may produce symptoms such as loss of feeling in the face or problems with the eyes. Immediately before an aneurysm ruptures, an individual may experience such symptoms as a sudden and unusually severe headache, nausea, vision impairment, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
Is there any treatment?
Emergency treatment for individuals with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm generally includes restoring deteriorating respiration and reducing intracranial pressure. Surgery is usually performed within the first 3 days to clip the ruptured aneurysm and to reduce the risk of rebleeding. When aneurysms are discovered before rupture occurs, microcoil thrombosis or balloon embolization may be performed on patients for whom surgery is considered too risky.
What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for a patient with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm depends on the extent and location of the aneurysm, the person’s age, general health, and neurological condition. Early diagnosis and treatment are important.
What research is being done?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts research in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. The NINDS supports a broad range of basic and clinical research aimed at finding better ways to prevent and treat cerebrovascular disorders such as cerebral aneurysms.