Brain Aneurysm Survival Rate

A brain aneurysm is a dilated artery that forms a bubble inside the brain that can easily break open. Unfortunately, you rarely know you have it until it ruptures. The chance that an aneurysm is going to rupture is about 1 percent each year. Then, what is the brain aneurysm survival rate after the aneurysm ruptures?

What Is Brian Aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm is a bubble or balloon-like structure coming out of a bleed vessel within the brain itself. It often looks like a berry, so they are often referred to as berry aneurysm. The ballooned part of the blood vessel is very thin, and under certain circumstances, the aneurysm can burst open so that blood leaks out into the tissues of the brain. When the brain aneurysm ruptures, it is considered a neurosurgical emergency because the bleeding can be deadly. You need to go to an emergency room in a hospital and see neurosurgeons that may be able to improve your brain aneurysm survival rate.

There are often no signs or symptoms of a brain aneurysm that hasn't ruptured yet, so they don't get identified unless you are being examined for another reason. The symptoms usually occur after the rupture or when the aneurysm pushes on surrounding brain structures. The symptoms you get are largely dependent on where in the brain the aneurysm ruptures. In most cases, you will get a headache that is extremely severe. Some people get no headache when their aneurysm ruptures and get other symptoms, including the following:

  • Pain in the face
  • Loss of vision in one part of the visual field
  • Fainting episodes
  • Neurological findings in one part of the body
  • Seizures
  • Extreme confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Pain in the eyes when exposed to light
  • Neck stiffness or pain
  • Nose bleed
  • Dilated pupils
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Symptoms of a stroke

If you have any of these symptoms and think it might be associated with an aneurysm, you should seek medical attention right away.

What Is the Brain Aneurysm Survival Rate?

About six million US citizens have a silent brain aneurysm that hasn't ruptured. This amounts to about 1 in 50 individuals. These people are usually safe and don't know they have an aneurysm. A few cases of brain aneurysm can rupture and this is when the brain aneurysm rate goes way down.

About 8 to 10 individuals per 100,000 (30,000 people) in the US will have their aneurysm break open. This is a rate of about one rupture every 18 minutes. When the brain aneurysm ruptures, about 40 percent of the time, the rupture is fatal. Those that do not die generally have some permanent brain damage or residual deficits at a rate of about 66 percent.

When the brain aneurysm ruptures, it leads to a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is a very dangerous condition and which decreases the brain aneurysm survival rate. About 15 percent of these people never make it alive to the hospital. Instead, there is significant bleeding and brain injury that can't be fixed with medicines or surgery.

Your age and your usual state of health, along with the location and size of the aneurysm, will affect survival rate of brain aneurysm largely.

How to Diagnose Unruptured Brain Aneurysm Early for Being Cautious

As you know that having a ruptured aneurysm greatly reduces your brain aneurysm survival rate, it becomes important to find out if you have an unruptured aneurysm before the rupture occurs. Because there are few symptoms, this can be extremely difficult to diagnose until it is too late. Fortunately, there can still be symptoms when you have an unruptured aneurysm that may give you a clue that something with the aneurysm is about to happen. Some of these symptoms include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Visual problems
  • Pain in the eye
  • Double vision
  • Seizures
  • Blurry vision

Unfortunately, these types of symptoms can mimic other diseases, so you may not realize it is from an aneurysm. If you suspect something is going on, seek the advice of your doctor. The doctor may be able to identify the presence of a brain aneurysm by doing a CT scan or MRI scan of the brain. If you believe you are at risk of having an aneurysm because of a family history, the doctor will likely do some kind of evaluation of the brain to see if you, too, are at risk.

How to Deal With Unruptured Brain Aneurysms

If the brain aneurysm is discovered prior to rupturing, there may be treatment that can be done to keep it from rupturing later. Since most brain aneurysms do not rupture, doctors only treat those who are particularly at high risk.

Treatment is considered under certain circumstances, such as the size and location of the aneurysm, your age, the risk of hemorrhaging, your family history of brain aneurysms, your state of health and whether or not you tolerate surgery.

Most brain aneurysm treatments involve using small coils that clot the blood inside the aneurysm or doing an open procedure in which the aneurysm is clipped before it can bleed.

If you do not need aggressive procedures, you should still be evaluated on a regular basis to assess the aneurysm. There are medications you can take to lower your blood pressure and lifestyle changes you can make that will improve your brain aneurysm survival rate. These include the following:

  • Eat a good diet low in salt and high in fruits and vegetables
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay at a healthy weight. This can reduce your blood pressure and will keep you healthy
  • You should reduce your alcohol intake to the recommended 2-3 drinks per day
  • Regularly exercise, as this will keep your blood pressure down and strengthen your blood vessels
  • Decrease caffeine intake. This means drinking more water and fewer beverages that contain caffeine.

What If Having Been Diagnosed with Ruptured Brain Aneurysm?

If you have already had a ruptured aneurysm and a subarachnoid hemorrhage, emergency treatment is necessary. The doctors can use clips or coils to reduce bleeding in the same way as it is done for unruptured brain aneurysm.

It is important to have the patient's case discussed by a neurosurgeon and an interventional radiologist if there is time to do so. Techniques used by a neurosurgeon and those done by an interventional radiologist are different, but either treatment is possible. The choice of procedure done depends on the skill of the doctors, the patient's age and overall health. 

 
 
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