Brain Aneurysm: Causes, symptoms, treatment, challenges


In an interview with BBC recently, Game of Thrones actor and leading Hollywood star, Emilia Clarke, shared her journey with Brain Aneurysm and opened up more about the health ordeal, calling the two brain haemorrhages she suffered “a good thing”.
She had said, “The amount of my brain that is no longer usable it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions. I am in the really, really small minority of people that can survive. There’s quite a bit missing, which always makes me laugh because strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone and so the blood finds a different route to get around but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone.”
Her suffering two life-threatening brain aneurysms set it into a buzz word that left the uninitiated speculating hence, we got doctors on board to spill the beans on its causes, symptoms, treatment and challenges.
In an interview, Dr VP Singh, Chairman of Institute of Neurosciences at Medanta Hospital, explained, “Aneurysms are a weak spot in the brain’s artery which over a period start enlarging and form a balloon like structure on the wall of the blood vessel. Due to continuous flow of the blood in the brain’s blood vessels, the balloon keeps growing in in size, till the wall of the artery becomes very thin and it ruptures. People only see signs when the aneurysm gets ruptures and present with the symptoms like sudden onset of severe headaches.”
He added, “A person may have nausea, vomiting, stiffness on the neck, increased pain when a person moves his head, severe pain on the back of head, pain like someone have kicked on person’s back or head. In very severe cases, patient tend to lose their consciousness, may feel weakness in the arm or leg, speech could also be affected and can even cause instantaneous death.
People with a high blood pressure, genetic predisposition (very uncommon), people who smoke and at an age of 40-60 years (rarely seen in paediatric patient also) are more susceptible to get aneurysm. The treatment incl-udes surgical clipping where in a surgery is performed by putting a clip across the aneurysm base to stop the flow of flood in the aneurysm and therefore stopping it from rupturing.
The other procedure includes Endovascular Rescue Therapy where in the doctor open a skull and place a catheter into the brain and remove the clot that is causing the stroke. This procedure is called Endovascular Rescue Therapy.”
Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr (Lt Gen) CS Narayanan Vsm, HOD & Consultant - Depar-tment Of Neurology, HCMCT Manipal Hospital at Dwarka in Delhi, elaborated, “A brain aneurysm means ballooning of a blood vessel in the brain.
It is a serious condition beca-use if it ruptures there can be bleeding into the brain which can be life threatening. When an aneurysm ruptures the patient may experience severe headache, often described as the worst headache the person has ever had. Subsequently they may may lose consciousness and have a variety of neurological problems depending on the site & severity of bleeding.” He suggested, “Emergency surgery to clip the aneurysm or approaching the blood vessel with a catheter and occluding it are the usual treatment options.
It is imperative to get a consultation and do appropriate investigations like a CT Scan and MRI if one experiences uncharacteristic severe headache. To prevent this condition it is important to keep blood pressure under check, quit smoking and one must immediately.
Report to a neurologist in case of severe headache. Early treatment is effective. It can save lives and life long disability. It is important to look out for symptoms like severe headache, stiff neck, loss of consciousness, droopy eyelids, paralysis, fits.”

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