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Cerebral Aneurysm (Brain Aneurysm)

A weak or thin spot on a blood vessel in the brain that balloons out and fills with blood. An aneurysm can press on a nerve or surrounding tissue, and also leak or burst, which lets blood spill into surrounding tissues (called a hemorrhage).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

About Cerebral Aneurysm

A cerebral aneurysm (also known as an intracranial or intracerebral aneurysm) is a weak or thin spot on a blood vessel in the brain that balloons out and fills with blood. The bulging aneurysm can put pressure on a nerve or surrounding brain tissue. It may also leak or rupture, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue (called a hemorrhage). Some cerebral aneurysms, particularly those that are very small, do not bleed or cause other problems. Cerebral aneurysms can occur anywhere in the brain, but most are located along a loop of arteries that run between the underside of the brain and the base of the skull.

What causes a cerebral aneurysm?

Cerebral aneurysms can be congenital, resulting from an inborn abnormality in an artery wall. Cerebral aneurysms are also more common in people with certain genetic diseases, such as connective tissue disorders and polycystic kidney disease, and certain circulatory...Read more about Cerebral Aneurysms NIH - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Cooling the brain during surgery to prevent death or severe disability in people with brain aneurysms

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of cooling the brain during surgery for brain aneurysms. We found three studies of acceptable quality and analysed the results to see if cooling the brain during open‐skull surgery for brain aneurysms prevents death or severe disability.

Corticosteroids for aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage and primary intracerebral haemorrhage

There is no evidence of benefit from corticosteroids for patients with stroke due to bleeding. About one fifth of all strokes are due to bursting of an artery. The burst artery causes bleeding into the brain itself (called intracerebral haemorrhage) or into the space around the brain (called subarachnoid haemorrhage). After either type of bleed the brain tissue may become swollen. The swelling causes a rise in pressure which can cause further brain damage or even death. Corticosteroids could reduce swelling after brain haemorrhage and so improve the chances of the patient recovering. However, corticosteroids can also have important adverse effects such as increased blood sugars, infection, and gastrointestinal bleeding. The trials included in this review had too few participants to provide reliable evidence on any benefits weighed against harms of this treatment for patients with stroke due to bleeding in the brain.

A systematic review of clinical outcomes, perioperative data and selective adverse events related to mild hypothermia in intracranial aneurysm surgery

BACKGROUND: In the last two decades, mild intraoperative hypothermia has become widely accepted as a protective therapy in neurosurgery. However, its effect in intracranial aneurysm surgery remains unclear.

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Summaries for consumers

Cooling the brain during surgery to prevent death or severe disability in people with brain aneurysms

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of cooling the brain during surgery for brain aneurysms. We found three studies of acceptable quality and analysed the results to see if cooling the brain during open‐skull surgery for brain aneurysms prevents death or severe disability.

Corticosteroids for aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage and primary intracerebral haemorrhage

There is no evidence of benefit from corticosteroids for patients with stroke due to bleeding. About one fifth of all strokes are due to bursting of an artery. The burst artery causes bleeding into the brain itself (called intracerebral haemorrhage) or into the space around the brain (called subarachnoid haemorrhage). After either type of bleed the brain tissue may become swollen. The swelling causes a rise in pressure which can cause further brain damage or even death. Corticosteroids could reduce swelling after brain haemorrhage and so improve the chances of the patient recovering. However, corticosteroids can also have important adverse effects such as increased blood sugars, infection, and gastrointestinal bleeding. The trials included in this review had too few participants to provide reliable evidence on any benefits weighed against harms of this treatment for patients with stroke due to bleeding in the brain.

Antiplatelet therapy for aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage

A subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is a type of stroke due to bleeding in the subarachnoid space, which is the small space between the brain and the skull, and which contains blood vessels that supply the brain. The cause of the bleeding is usually a rupture of a bulge in one of these vessels, which is called an aneurysm. The outcome of patients after SAH is generally poor: 50% of patients die within one month after the haemorrhage, and of those who survive the initial month, 50% remain dependent on someone else for help with activities of daily living (eg, walking, dressing, bathing). One of the causes of poor outcome is a complication of SAH called secondary ischaemia (ischaemia means lack of blood). This complication occurs four to 10 days after the haemorrhage (hence secondary). The cause is not exactly known, but besides contraction of the blood vessels in the brain, there is evidence that clotting of blood platelets plays a role as well. Therefore, trials have been performed with agents that prevent clotting of blood platelets (antiplatelet agents). In this review of seven trials, including 1385 patients, that studied the effects of antiplatelet agents on the outcome after SAH, we found that patients who were treated with antiplatelet agents had a poor outcome less often, and secondary ischaemia less often than patients that received no antiplatelet agent, but the results were not statistically significant and so no definite conclusion can be drawn. Moreover, patients who are treated with antiplatelet agents might have a slightly higher risk of bleeding. Based on these results we conclude that antiplatelet agents after SAH cannot be recommended at the present time.

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Terms to know

Aneurysm
Balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. A ruptured aneurysm can lead to bleeding. Aneurysms are a result of a weakened blood vessel wall.
Blood Vessels
Tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins.
Brain
The part of the central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium).
Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)
A stroke occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells start to die after a few minutes. Sudden bleeding in the brain also can cause a stroke if it damages brain cells.
Hemorrhage
In medicine, loss of blood from damaged blood vessels. A hemorrhage may be internal or external, and usually involves a lot of bleeding in a short time.

More about Cerebral Aneurysm

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Intracranial aneurysm, Intracerebral aneurysm, Berry aneurysm

Other terms to know: See all 5
Aneurysm, Blood Vessels, Brain

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