Brain aneurysms quickly turn dangerous, according to UW Health neurologist

Acting fast could save lives.
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:38 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WIFR) - September is National Brain Aneurysm Awareness month, and although new technology makes screening more effective, preventing serious complications from brain aneurysms comes down to acting fast.

Aneurysms impact about 3% of the United States population, but the most severe consequence of an aneurysm, a bulging or ballooning blood vessel in the brain, is that it would rupture, according to Dr. Luke Bradbury, neurologist, UW Health.

But before that occurs, a person might notice symptoms around their eyes like blurred or double vision, a droopy eyelid, a dilated pupil, pain above or behind one eye and weakness or numbness.

“If you experience these symptoms, contact your primary care provider quickly, and you can be screened using a brain scan,” Bradbury said. “We want to catch these as soon as possible to avoid a rupture, which can be deadly.”

If a rupture does occur, time is of the essence. Bradbury is hoping public attention to this condition will help save lives.

“I can’t stress enough how important acting quickly is,” he said. “If you can’t call for help yourself, alert someone nearby as fast as you can.”

A ruptured aneurysm can include sudden and severe headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, stiff neck and/or seizure.

Bradbury says that onset of one or more of these symptoms suddenly warrants an immediate call to 9-1-1.

“We have to know what to look for and how to take care of one another when these symptoms show up, so we can get a screening done and treatment started in time,” he said.

If a close relative: a parent, a sibling, or child has had an aneurysm, you are at an increased risk of having one as well, so it is important to get screened.