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Brain Aneurysm

What is a brain aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm is when a blood vessel in your brain has a weak spot, and the weak spot bulges or balloons outward and fills with blood. A brain aneurysm is a serious condition because it can rupture and leak blood into the brain. This condition can potentially be fatal.

What are the symptoms?

Many brain aneurysms don’t cause any symptoms and are often detected in tests for other medical conditions. However, when an aneurysm is large, it can press on the brain tissue and cause the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Facial numbness
  • Pain above or behind the eye

How is it diagnosed?

Brain aneurysms are diagnosed using imaging tests. If you are experiencing the above symptoms, your doctor might order a CT scan or an MRI to create detailed pictures of the brain which will allow your doctor to see the telltale bulge in the blood vessel.

How is it treated?

Once your brain aneurysm is diagnosed, the neurosurgeon will consider many factors before deciding on a course of treatment. If intervention is necessary, the two most common treatment options are surgical clipping and endovascular coiling.

In surgical clipping, the neurosurgeon will place a small clip on the neck of the balloon which will completely cut off the blood supply to an aneurysm and eliminate the possibility of a rupture. The clip remains in place for life.

In contrast, endovascular coiling aims to stop the aneurysm’s blood supply from within the blood vessel. The neurosurgeon will go in through an artery (typically in the groin) and thread a catheter through the blood vessel to the aneurysm. Metal coils are then inserted into the aneurysm which seals it off from the artery.

The course of treatment varies depending on each patient’s individual circumstance. At UConn Health, the treatment is tailored for the patient’s specific pathology.

Brain Aneurysm Support Group

In partnership with the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, UConn Health now offers an educational setting to provide support for patients and survivors of brain aneurysms, as well as caregivers, family and friends. Attendees will discuss recovery topics and learn about helpful resources, all in an environment to foster reassurance and personal exchange.

Fourth Thursday of each month; 3 to 4 p.m.; Outpatient Pavilion, 6th Floor Large Conference Room, UConn Health

Deb Feigenbaum, M.S.W., LCSW
Phone: 860-679-2377