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A cerebral aneurysm, or brain aneurysm, occurs when a blood vessel in the brain balloons outward. When this happens, the wall of the vessel can become thin and leak or rupture, causing bleeding in the brain, leading to a haemorrhagic stroke. Aneurysms are commonly found in the area between the layers covering the brain and the brain itself, which causes a serious medical condition known as a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

The majority of cerebral aneurysms do not ever rupture or leak. They are often found during routine brain tests or scans and are typically monitored to make sure they are not growing in size or causing problems. In some cases, aneurysms that have not ruptured may be treated to ensure they will not cause harm.

In the event that a brain haemorrhage or cerebral aneurysm was missed, improperly diagnosed, or surgery to repair the problem was botched, a medical negligence solicitor may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.

Signs and Symptoms

An aneurysm that has not ruptured typically has few signs or symptoms. That being said, an aneurysm that has ruptured can cause many symptoms including: severe headaches, blurry vision, stiff neck, double vision, vomiting, difficulty concentrating, confusion, eyelid drooping on one side of the face, seizures, and lack of consciousness.

Aneurysms that are leaking often cause severe headaches, but not other neurological symptoms. In some cases, aneurysms that are not ruptured or leaking may cause a bit of pain above one eye, numbness or paralysis of one part of the body, vision changes, a droopy eyelid, or a dilated pupil.

Unfortunately, a patient may visit the hospital or doctor to address a serious headache, and is told to return home and take over the counter pain medication. In a short period of time, the person may lose consciousness and have little chance of recovery. When this happens, a brain haemorrhage medical negligence solicitor can help.

Risk Factors

While a cerebral aneurysm can happen in anyone, there are certain risk factors that increase a person's chances of being affected. Factors such as smoking, having elevated blood pressure, illegal drug use, head injuries, alcohol abuse, low post menopausal oestrogen levels, arteriosclerosis or a hardening of the arteries, a family history of aneurysms, certain types of infections, weakened blood vessels, kidney disease and a narrowing of the aorta can all increase your odds of a aneurysm.

Aneurysm Treatment

In most cases, aneurysms that need treatment require surgery to halt the bleeding. There are two main surgical procedures that are preformed to achieve this result. One involves opening the skull and using a metal clip to pinch off the aneurysm. The second option is less invasive, and uses a catheter that is placed into the artery and is threaded to the site that is bleeding. This done by using a guide wire that pushes a platinum wire into the aneurysm; it coils and causes the bleed to clot. This is often referred to as endovascular coiling. Even though this procedure is less invasive, it does have a higher chance of the bleeding reoccurring.

Following surgery, the remainder of treatment for a brain aneurysm is supportive in nature. Pain medications are given to manage pain, calcium channel blockers are administered to control the vasospasm near the ruptured artery, and vasopressors are prescribed to prevent strokes. In some cases medication may be needed to prevent seizures as well. If there is pressure on the brain, a ventricular catheter may be used to drain some of the fluid into the abdomen. In the event there is neurological damage, rehabilitation may also be required.

If there was any form of inadequate medical treatment of a brain haemorrhage, a brain aneurysm solicitor may be able to help you to start a medical negligence claim to recover compensation for your loss.

How Medical Negligence Solicitors Can Help

Our brain haemorrhage solicitors can help you throughout the entire process of your medical negligence compensation claim. If you would like to find out more about how we can help, please contact our cerebral aneurysm solicitors today.

Brain Aneurysm Information

A brain aneurysm is a small bulging area in a blood vessel within the brain. As it often looks like a berry, a brain aneurysm is often called a "berry aneurysm". Brain aneurysms can rupture or leak so that there is bleeding within the brain and in the subarachnoid space. Ruptured aneurysms are life threatening and need immediate treatment. Fortunately, most brain aneurysms do not rupture or cause any symptoms. These are found during other testing of the brain. In such cases, the treatment is directed toward not having the aneurysm rupture at all.

A ruptured aneurysm is easy to identify. It starts with a severe headache often described as the "worst headache a person has ever had". This is associated with nausea and vomiting, double vision, blurry vision, stiff neck, light sensitivity, drooping eyelids, seizures, confusion or coma. Sometimes an aneurysm just leaks a little bit and then dries up. This leads to some of the above symptoms that pass over time. Such symptoms should not be ignored.

If an aneurysm has not ruptured, there may be no symptoms. Large aneurysms of the brain can press on nerves or on brain tissue and can cause a dilated pupil, pain above or behind the eye, change in vision such as double vision, stroke-like symptoms or a drooping eyelid on one side.

The cause of brain aneurysms is not clear but they seem to run in families in some cases. Those who are older are at higher risk for developing a brain aneurysm as are those who smoke. Those with arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries are at greater risk of aneurysm. Cocaine use is associated with brain aneurysms and head injuries can cause rupture of brain aneurysms. Alcoholics are at greater risk for brain aneurysms and some blood infections trigger brain aneurysms. As mentioned, a family history of brain aneurysms put you at higher risk of having them, too.

Some genetic causes or birth defects that can increase the potential of having brain aneurysms include having connective tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, coarctation of the aorta or AVMs (arteriovenous malformations), which are abnormal connections between veins and arteries within the brain.

Complications of a ruptured aortic aneurysm include repetitive bleeding of the aneurysm, spasm of the blood vessels that can lead to a stroke, excess fluid on the brain known as hydrocephalus and low sodium, which is due to damage of the hypothalamus.

There are several tests that can determine if you have an aneurysm or a ruptured brain aneurysm. Such tests are done if there is suspicion of an aneurysm such as sudden severe headache and other symptoms. Tests for a ruptured brain aneurysm are about the same as for an un-ruptured brain aneurysm. A CT scan will show bleeding areas in the brain. It uses a dye that highlights the blood flow within the brain. This is called CT angiography. Tests of the cerebrospinal fluid might show blood in the cerebrospinal fluid from a subarachnoid haemorrhage. An MRI can show changes consistent with brain aneurysm. A cerebral angiogram is an x-ray test that uses a dye to show the entire vasculature of the brain so that any aneurysm is shown on the x-ray.

In some cases, there is screening for brain aneurysms. This occurs whenever there is a strong family history for brain aneurysms or if you have a medical condition or connective tissue disease that predisposes you to brain aneurysms.

Treatment for brain aneurysms includes two types of surgery. One is a surgery that uses a clip to block off the entrance to the aneurysm, thus making it bloodless so it dries up. No blood flows through a clipped aneurysm. Another type of surgery includes endovascular coiling. The surgeon puts a catheter into the artery and inserts a tiny coil into the aneurysm. The wire curls up inside the aneurysm, causing the blood to clot and the aneurysm to become clotted so it doesn't receive blood flow. It can be a risky procedure and it doesn't always work but it is far less invasive than clipping the aneurysm.

Other treatments include pain killers to kill the headache and calcium channel blocker medication to lower the blood pressure and reduce the amount of vasospasm around the aneurysm. An angioplasty can be done that will increase the blood flow around the aneurysm so spasm isn't much of a problem. Seizure medications are used to prevent seizure activity and certain shunts can be placed that decrease the pressure on the brain in cases of hydrocephalus.



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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here