Brain Aneurysm - Medical Negligence Lawyers – Compensation Claims

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Brain Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm is a weak part of an artery that bulges out from the main part of the artery. Aneurysms can have symptoms because they push on other brain structures and nerves. They can also have symptoms because they bleed, causing damage to the tissue of the brain. About 1 in 15 people will have a brain aneurysm in the brain; many come to be noticed when they rupture spontaneously. A ruptured aneurysm is sometimes referred to as a subarachnoid haemorrhage when they bleed into the arachnoid space. In such cases, the outcome is stroke, coma and death.

About 30,000 people in the UA have a subarachnoid haemorrhage. About 10-15 percent of people will die before reaching a healthcare facility and half will die in the first 30 days. The biggest risk factors are having a first degree relative with an aneurysm and smoking cigarettes. The average age of those presenting with an aneurysm is 40-60 years of age; males predominate at 3:2 and twenty percent will have more than one aneurysm.

The symptoms of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm are different from symptoms of an unruptured aneurysm. Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include the following:

  • Stiff neck.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dilated pupils, often on one side.
  • Pain behind the eye.
  • Loss of sensation.
  • Light sensitivity.

Symptoms of an unruptured cerebral aneurysm include the following:

  • Thinking problems.
  • Peripheral vision problems.
  • Speech difficulties.
  • Fatigue.
  • Short term memory deficits.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Behavioral problems.
  • Problems with perception.

Aneurysms will rupture at a rate of about 1-2 percent per year. Unfortunately, most aneurysms don’t show themselves until they have ruptured. Large aneurysms can show themselves by interrupting vision, causing a nerve paralysis, nausea and vomiting, pain behind the eye or other symptoms related to the nervous symptom. CT scan can pick up these lesions before they rupture. MRI scans can also show the presence of cerebral aneurysms. CT scanning requires the US of contrast dye to show up the blood vessels, while an MRI does not require a dye at all. CT scan produces better resolution when done with a dye. A CT angiogram uses a dye and is the best test for detection of a ruptured aneurysm. If many aneurysms are found, the patient will have a cerebral angiogram to identify each of the different aneurysms.

The treatment of brain aneurysms is usually done when they haven’t ruptured. There are two main treatments of aneurysms. The first is called open surgical clipping, in which the surgeons go in and place a metal clip across the aneurysm where it comes across the main blood vessel. Patients spend 2-3 days in the hospital and are directed not to do heavy activity for a month after the procedure. This is an open procedure, requiring open brain surgery.

An easier procedure is called “endovascular coiling”. It is a closed procedure in which the surgeon goes into the arterial system of the brain with a coil. The coil is inserted into the aneurysm where it clots off the vessel because of lack of blood flow in the aneurysm. This is now considered the superior procedure, preferred over the open procedure. Stents or balloons may be necessary to keep the coil in place.

If the aneurysm has ruptured, external clips and endovascular coiling can be done, although the patient is in a risky situation. Patients with coils had a 22.6 percent lesser risk of disability when treated with coils. The study that looked into this was stopped partway through because they had realized that to continue with open surgery was not right.

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