Brain aneurisms do not always produce obvious symptoms. It has been estimated that about 6% of the U.S. population may have unruptured brain aneurisms. That is, they have aneurisms that have never ruptured, and they may not even know it.
Brain aneurism symptoms are difficult to identify. Prior to rupture, most aneurisms produce few or no symptoms. However, as an aneurism grows it is more likely to make its presence known.
Symptoms that are consistent with having a brain aneurism may include…
By the time symptoms like these appear it is likely that the brain aneurism has grown large enough to be a serious threat.
In the event of a brain aneurism rupture more severe symptoms are possible. These may include…
Milder headaches - milder by comparison - can be caused by a smaller hemorrhage and can serve as warning pains that a more serious bleed may follow within days or even hours.
A large study was done to help predict patient survival based on the type and severity of brain aneurism symptoms. The study used what is known as the Hunt-Hess scale. The scale divides patients into five categories determined by the symptoms each is experiencing at the time of observation. In other words, the Hunt-Hess scale helps to quantify aneurism rupture severity based on the symptoms experienced by the patient. The five categories are listed below.
I. Asymptomatic or mild headache
II. Moderate or severe headache, nuchal (in the region of, the back, or nape, of the neck) rigidity or oculomotor palsy (paralysis of the eye).
III. Confused, drowsiness, or mild focal signs
IV. Stupor or hemi paresis (paralysis affecting only one side of the body).
V. Coma or moribund (being at the point of death).
The general results of the study are as follows:
If a patient with a ruptured brain aneurism was observed to have symptoms consistent with either of the first two categories then he or she had about a 4% likelihood of dying. The 96% that lived had about a 90% chance of living an independent life after the incident.
Those suffering from a Grade IV-V had increasingly higher mortality rates (up to 46%). Those surviving had only a 30% likelihood of independent functioning.
The Hunt-Hess scale may be helpful in predicting mortality rates but it doesn’t help us so much when we are sitting at home with a persistent headache wondering if we have an aneurism.
Unfortunately brain aneurism symptoms are inconsistent – and often absent – in relation to brain aneurisms. There are detection methods for locating aneurisms. But these methods can only be performed in a medical office or hospital.
For more information on brain aneurism…
…please return to the main aneurism page.
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