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Managing unruptured brain aneurysm

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September is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month. RapidAI is proud to partner with the Brain Aneurysm Foundation to help educate the public about brain aneurysms. 

An estimated 6.5 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm; 30,000 rupture each year.

While brain aneurysms could be a potential problem, not all aneurysms rupture

What is a brain aneurysm?

brain aneurysm is caused by a weak or thin spot in the blood vessel wall, which may balloon and fill with blood. Unruptured brain aneurysms are usually asymptomatic. They are typically small and are incidentally detected when a patient is scanned for other reasons. However, getting prompt medical attention and a scan is vital if you experience symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm.

In rare circumstances, unruptured brain aneurysms can cause symptoms when they grow large and press on nerves. Symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • A drooping eyelid
  • A dilated pupil
  • Pain above and behind one eye
  • Weakness and/or numbness

Most commonly, brain aneurysms cause noticeable symptoms only when they rupture. A ruptured aneurysm can lead to heavy bleeding, brain damage, or death. 

Detecting and tracking brain aneurysms before they rupture 

Suppose you notice symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm and go to the hospital; ask the physician about getting a brain scan to rule out the possibility of an aneurysm. A brain scan is a test that produces detailed images of the brain. In this case, it would help investigate whether you have an unruptured brain aneurysm and determine its size, location, and morphology to help guide potential treatment or monitoring options.

If the physician detects an unruptured aneurysm, they will evaluate whether to track the aneurysm over time or treat the aneurysm.

Some of the factors that help make the decision include: 

  • Size of the aneurysm
  • Morphology of the aneurysm
  • Location of the aneurysm
  • Previous aneurysm rupture
  • Family history of aneurysms
  • Growth of the aneurysm (as observed over time through scans to monitor the aneurysm)

If the physician decides to track the aneurysm, regular check-ups to monitor the aneurysm will be recommended.

FDA-cleared imaging platform for unruptured aneurysm visualization and measurement

Image interpretation tools like Rapid Aneurysm are helping physicians improve patient care by supporting clinical decision-making. Rapid Aneurysm processes brain images and provides 3D models of the blood vessels. It includes tools to visualize, measure, and track aneurysms more efficiently than current methods, and helps physicians plan the treatment strategy. Rapid Aneurysm's measurement and visualization tools can help you understand your diagnosis, collaborate with your physician, and be informed and involved when deciding the treatment plan.  

Learn more about brain aneurysms, symptoms, and risk factors by visiting Brain Aneurysm Foundation (bafound.org). You can also participate in the Brain Aneurysm Foundation's Day of Engagement on September 15, 2022, and help promote the early detection of brain aneurysms. 

Christine J. Buckley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christine J. Buckley

Christine J. Buckley is the Executive Director of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. Her most prized accomplishment at the foundation has been the establishment of the research grant program which has awarded over $4,000,000 in the last 15 years. She also set up the foundation’s first major fundraiser 20 years ago that continues to raise $100,000 each year. Christine graduated from Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts in 1990.