Cerebral Aneurysms

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage From a Ruptured Aneurysm

A subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a life-threatening type of stroke that is caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. One of the causes of SAH is a ruptured aneurysm. An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in an artery wall. As the bulge grows, it becomes thinner and weaker and begins to put pressure on nearby structures. The bulge can eventually rupture, releasing blood into the subarachnoid space around the brain, and this is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

As the blood from the rupture spreads and clots, it irritates the lining of the brain and damages brain cells. At the same time, the area of the brain that this artery was previously providing oxygen-rich blood to is now deprived of blood, resulting in a stroke. A subarachnoid hemorrhage is life-threatening, carrying with it a 40% chance of death.

Most of the time, someone with an aneurysm won’t show symptoms until it ruptures. Symptoms may include sudden onset of a very severe headache, nausea or vomiting, a stiff neck, sensitivity to light, blurred or double vision, loss of consciousness, or seizures. If you or someone else experiences any of the symptoms of a SAH, it is critical to call 911 immediately.

Brain Aneurysm: Diagnosis, Minimally Invasive Treatments Such As Balloon-Assisted, Stent-Assisted Coiling Or Flow Diverting Systems

A brain aneurysm is a severe condition that is potentially life-threatening, so swift diagnosis and treatment is critical. A CT scan is typically the first step in diagnosing a brain aneurysm, but further testing may be required if the bleed is small. Once an aneurysm is diagnosed, a cerebral angiogram can be performed to better understand it. This procedure involves injecting a contrast medium into the bloodstream and performing an X-ray, allowing doctors to get a detailed look at the condition.

Once the aneurysm is diagnosed and assessed, a treatment plan is made. This could include minimally invasive treatments such as balloon-assisted coiling, stent-assisted coiling, or flow diverting systems. In a balloon-assisted coiling procedure, a balloon is inflated inside the artery and used to direct a wire that coils up inside the aneurysm, disrupting the blood flow and sealing off the aneurysm from the artery. Stent-assisted coiling can also be performed, using a catheter that is inserted into the artery, and the wire is then pushed through the catheter to the aneurysm. A third option is flow diverters. These tubular, stent-like implants divert blood away from the aneurysm sac, stopping blood movement within the aneurysm and stimulating the body to heal the site, which encourages reconstruction of the parent artery.

The treatment that is used will vary based on the size, location, and overall appearance of the brain aneurysm, also taking into account the patient’s risk factors and ability to undergo a procedure.

Cerebral Vasospasm Due to Brain Bleeding: Medical, Intra-Arterial Infusions and Balloon Angioplasty

A cerebral vasospasm is a condition in which the blood vessels in the brain narrow, which reduces blood flow to the brain and causes brain tissue death. This condition usually occurs after a cerebral hemorrhage that is caused by a ruptured aneurysm.

Two of the methods for treating a cerebral vasospasm are intra-arterial infusions, also called interventional radiology, and balloon angioplasty. Interventional radiology involves the use of X-rays, CT, ultrasound, and advanced imaging techniques to direct a catheter to the affected area to administer medication directly to the cerebral vasospasm. Another treatment option is a balloon angioplasty. This is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip that is guided to the vasospasm, and then inflated to widen the opening and increase blood flow.

Treatment of a cerebral vasospasm will be determined by the doctor based on several factors that they will discuss with the patient. As with all medical treatments, these and other options do carry some risk with them.