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Understanding Brain Aneurysms: Symptoms and Advanced Treatment Options

A brain aneurysm is a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by a weakened or ballooning blood vessel in the brain. While many people may live with an unruptured brain aneurysm without experiencing any symptoms, a ruptured aneurysm can lead to a sudden and severe headache, often described as the worst headache of one's life. Understanding the types, symptoms, risk factors, and when to seek care is crucial for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms and Risk Factors: Unruptured brain aneurysms smaller than 5-6 millimeters often do not cause symptoms and are discovered incidentally during imaging tests for other conditions. However, when an aneurysm ruptures, it can result in a sudden and severe headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, loss of consciousness, and may lead to a coma due to high pressure in the head from the bleeding. Several risk factors can contribute to the development and rupture of brain aneurysms, including smoking, high blood pressure, drug abuse (particularly cocaine), family history of brain aneurysms, and certain medical conditions like polycystic kidney disease and connective tissue disorders.

When to Seek Care: If you experience sudden and severe symptoms such as the worst headache of your life, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, it's critical to seek immediate medical attention. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve outcomes and reduce the risk of complications associated with a ruptured brain aneurysm.

Advanced Treatment: Memorial is the only healthcare system in South Florida selected to use Medtronic's next generation, Pipeline Vantage flow diversion device (approved by the FDA) to improve brain aneurysm outcomes.

"It's much safer for the patient due to improved visibility of the device under image navigation leading to greater precision during treatment and ease of deployment which reduces procedure times," said Dr. Brijesh P Mehta, Medical Director of Neurointerventional Surgery and the Comprehensive Stroke Program at Memorial Neuroscience Institute. "The flow diversion devices are implanted inside the vessel, across the opening of the aneurysm to seal it off and thereby preventing it from bursting. This is a quick, durable, and highly effective solution for a condition that can often be fatal."

Understanding the types, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for brain aneurysms is essential for early detection and intervention. Memorial Healthcare System offers advanced care and expertise to effectively diagnose and treat brain aneurysms, prioritizing patient safety and well-being. If you or a loved one experience symptoms suggestive of a brain aneurysm, do not hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.

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