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A woman laughs with her spouse over a game of chess after recovering from neurosurgery.

Brain aneurysm treatment and hemorrhage care

An aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in a weakened blood vessel wall, which can potentially rupture and cause serious health problems or even be life-threatening. A hemorrhage, on the other hand, is the escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel, which can occur in many parts of the body.

Risk factors for aneurysms and hemorrhages

There are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing an aneurysm, including:

  • Age: The risk of developing an aneurysm increases as you get older.
  • Family history: Having a family history of aneurysms can increase your risk.
  • Gender: Aneurysms are more common in women than men.
  • High blood pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can weaken blood vessels and increase the risk of an aneurysm.
  • Smoking: Smoking can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of aneurysms.
  • Drug abuse: Certain drugs, such as cocaine, can increase the risk of aneurysms.
  • Head injury: A history of head injury may increase the risk of developing an aneurysm.
  • Connective tissue disorders: Some genetic disorders that affect connective tissue, such as Marfan syndrome, can increase the risk of aneurysms.


There are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of a hemorrhage, which is the escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel. These risk factors can vary depending on the location of the hemorrhage, but some common risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can weaken blood vessels and increase the risk of a hemorrhage.
  • Trauma: Physical trauma or injury to a specific area of the body can increase the risk of a hemorrhage in that area.
  • Blood disorders: Certain blood disorders, such as hemophilia or sickle cell anemia, can increase the risk of a hemorrhage.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can increase the risk of a hemorrhage.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse: Heavy alcohol consumption and drug abuse can increase the risk of a hemorrhage.
  • Age: The risk of hemorrhages increases as people get older.
  • Family history: A family history of hemorrhagic stroke or aneurysms can increase the risk of a hemorrhage.
  • Brain AVMs: A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels that can increase the risk of a hemorrhage in the brain.


What are the symptoms of an aneurysm?

The symptoms of an aneurysm can vary depending on the location and size of the bulge. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Sudden severe headache
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Drooping eyelid


In some cases, an unruptured aneurysm may not cause any symptoms and may be discovered incidentally during a medical examination for an unrelated condition. If you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about an aneurysm, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

What happens if an aneurysm ruptures?

If an aneurysm ruptures or "pops," it can cause bleeding in the affected area and can potentially be life-threatening. When the weakened blood vessel wall tears or ruptures, blood spills into the surrounding tissue, creating pressure and swelling in the area. This can damage nearby tissues and organs and cause a variety of symptoms such as sudden and severe headache, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, loss of consciousness, and seizures. Emergency medical treatment is necessary if an aneurysm ruptures, and the outcome can depend on the size, location, and severity of the rupture, as well as the promptness and effectiveness of the medical response.

How to detect and treat aneurysms and hemorrhages

Using cerebral angiography, the neurovascular team at St. Luke’s Health has the capabilities to effectively detect aneurysms and the expertise to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Using the latest technology to treat aneurysms

St. Luke’s Health is the first hospital in Texas to treat patients using PulseRider, a novel neurovascular device that enables minimally invasive endovascular treatment of patients diagnosed with wide-necked bifurcation aneurysms, complex brain aneurysms originating on or near a vessel bifurcation at the base of the skull.

Additionally, our team specializes in microvascular brain surgery and minimally invasive endovascular neurosurgery options for treating aneurysms, including:

  • Clipping
  • Coiling
  • Flow diversion


The expertise to halt hemorrhages 

St. Luke’s Health neurosurgeons specialize in open microsurgery for the treatment of hemorrhages (ruptured blood vessels). Our team utilizes Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound for early detection of vasospasm in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage. We continuously monitor intracranial pressure to detect cerebral edema, swelling caused by excessive fluid in the brain, and optimize cerebral blood flow. For intracerebral hemorrhages, which often occur with stroke, our Comprehensive Stroke Centers offer the highest level of stroke care available.

Tips to make aneurysm recovery smoother

Recovering from an aneurysm can be a challenging process, but there are some things you can do to help make the recovery smoother. Here are some tips:

  • Follow your doctor's instructions: It is important to follow all instructions provided by your doctor, including any medication regimens, physical therapy, or other treatment plans.
  • Rest and pace yourself: Allow yourself plenty of rest and avoid overexerting yourself during the recovery process. However, it is also important to stay active and gradually increase your activity levels as you feel able.
  • Manage stress: Stress can have a negative impact on recovery, so take steps to manage stress levels. This could include practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy and balanced diet can help support the healing process. Focus on consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is important for overall health and can help support recovery.
  • Attend follow-up appointments: Attend all follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
  • Seek support: Recovery from an aneurysm can be emotional and challenging. Seek support from loved ones, a support group, or a mental health professional if needed.

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U.S. News & World Report

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