What is the Prognosis of Cerebral Aneurysm

What is the Prognosis of Cerebral Aneurysm
What is the Prognosis of Cerebral Aneurysm

A cerebral or intracranial aneurysm occurs when an artery in the brain weakens, causing a bulge in the vessel wall. This dilation, resembling a blister, can rupture suddenly, leading to a condition known as subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), where bleeding occurs around the brain. The consequences can be severe, including stroke, coma, or even death.

The exact cause of aneurysm rupture is often unknown, but certain factors increase the risk:

  • High blood pressure is a major contributor to subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  •  Activities like heavy lifting or straining can raise brain pressure, potentially triggering a rupture.
  •  Emotional stress can elevate blood pressure, increasing the risk of aneurysm rupture.
  • Certain medications, like blood thinners or stimulant drugs, as well as substances like cocaine, can also contribute to aneurysm rupture.

The likelihood of an unruptured aneurysm bleeding depends on various factors, such as its size, shape, location, and associated symptoms. Treatment is strongly recommended, especially after an aneurysm has bled, as the risk of re-bleeding is significantly elevated.

When an aneurysm ruptures, it releases blood into the brain’s surrounding space, causing a sudden, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and potential coma. This bleeding can directly damage brain tissue, leading to symptoms like weakness, speech difficulties, vision problems, or seizures.

Even with treatment, the aftermath of a ruptured aneurysm can be severe. Mortality rates range from 30 to 40 percent, with 20 to 35 percent experiencing moderate to severe brain damage. Vasospasm, where blood vessels narrow due to irritation from leaked blood, can further exacerbate brain injury. Other complications may include hydrocephalus, breathing difficulties requiring mechanical ventilation, and infections.

The extensive damage after bleeding occurs due to increased pressure and swelling from the blood entering brain tissue, as well as irritation to blood vessels causing constriction and interrupting normal blood flow (referred to as ischemic stroke). Unfortunately, treating a ruptured aneurysm cannot reverse existing brain damage; it aims to prevent further bleeding and subsequent damage to brain and bodily functions. Rehabilitation therapy may be beneficial for patients post-treatment.