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A brain aneurysm is a ballooning out of a blood vessel in the brain. It is a thin walled portion of the vessel that can easily leak under the right circumstances. In other cases, the brain aneurysm can completely rupture, causing excessive bleeding in a portion of the brain. It can lead to what’s called a haemorrhagic stroke. Brain aneurysms are often found in the space between the brain and the layers covering the brain, leading to a subarachnoid haemorrhage, considered to be a medical emergency.

Fortunately, the bulk of brain aneurysms do not leak or rupture. They can be found incidentally during a brain test done for another reason. Sometimes unruptured aneurism is treated anyway in anticipation of it possibly rupturing. In other cases, they are watched to make sure they don’t get any larger.

Brain haemorrhage compensation claim solicitors deal with applications for awards of damages for personal injury on the basis of medical negligence following either miss-diagnosis or failed surgical intervention both of which can cause a worsening of the initial problem.


A brain aneurysm is a weak part of an artery that bulges out from the main part of the artery. Aneurysms can have symptoms because they push on other brain structures and nerves. They can also have symptoms because they bleed, causing damage to the tissue of the brain. About 1 in 15 people will have a brain aneurysm in the brain; many come to be noticed when they rupture spontaneously. A ruptured aneurysm is sometimes referred to as a subarachnoid haemorrhage when they bleed into the arachnoid space. In such cases, the outcome is stroke, coma and death.

Over 2,000 people in Australia have a subarachnoid haemorrhage every year. About 10-15 percent of people will die before reaching a healthcare facility and half will die in the first 30 days. The biggest risk factors are having a first degree relative with an aneurysm and smoking cigarettes. The average age of those presenting with an aneurysm is 40-60 years of age; males predominate at 3:2 and twenty percent will have more than one aneurysm.

Risk Factors

Brain aneurysms can occur in anyone but there are some risk factors that predispose a person to getting an aneurysm. This condition often forms where there are branches or forks in arteries because arteries are weaker in those sections. Predisposing factors include smoking history, being of an older age, having high blood pressure, having arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, using cocaine or other illicit drugs, having a head injury, being an alcoholic, having a family history of aneurysms, having low estrogen post-menopause, having a connective tissue disorder that weakens blood vessel tissue, having certain blood infections, having polycystic kidney disease or being born with coarctation of the aorta, which is narrowing of the aorta in a specific spot. If you develop arteriovenous malformations or AVMs, you are at higher risk for brain haemorrhages from aneurysms.


An unruptured aneurysm generally has few symptoms. A ruptured aneurysm, on the other hand, reveals a sudden, severe headache associated with nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, double vision, stiff neck, seizures, drooping eyelid on one side, confusion and loss of consciousness.

A leaking aneurysm often yields a severe headache without other neurological findings. An unruptured aneurysm, if it produces symptoms at all, can show a pain above one eye, a dilated pupil, paralysis or numbness of a body part, alteration of vision, or a drooping eyelid.

Brain haemorrhage compensation claim lawyers often deal with cases where a patient in the early stages of a brain haemorrhage presents at hospital suffering from severe headache to be told to go home and take analgaesics. Within a few hours the patient is unconscious, often with little chance of full recovery which may have taken place with early surgical intervention. This scenario may be determined to be an issue of medical negligence leading to an award of damages for pain and suffering and financial losses.

The symptoms of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm are different from symptoms of an unruptured aneurysm. Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include the following:

  • Stiff neck.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dilated pupils, often on one side.
  • Pain behind the eye.
  • Loss of sensation.
  • Light sensitivity.

Symptoms of an unruptured cerebral aneurysm include the following:

  • Thinking problems.
  • Peripheral vision problems.
  • Speech difficulties.
  • Fatigue.
  • Short term memory deficits.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Behavioral problems.
  • Problems with perception.

Aneurysms will rupture at a rate of about 1-2 percent per year. Unfortunately, most aneurysms don�t show themselves until they have ruptured. Large aneurysms can show themselves by interrupting vision, causing a nerve paralysis, nausea and vomiting, pain behind the eye or other symptoms related to the nervous symptom. CT scan can pick up these lesions before they rupture. MRI scans can also show the presence of cerebral aneurysms. CT scanning requires the US of contrast dye to show up the blood vessels, while an MRI does not require a dye at all. CT scan produces better resolution when done with a dye. A CT angiogram uses a dye and is the best test for detection of a ruptured aneurysm. If many aneurysms are found, the patient will have a cerebral angiogram to identify each of the different aneurysms.


The usual treatment of an aneurysm involves doing surgery to stop the bleeding. There are two major types of surgery that are done to resolve a bleeding aneurysm. The first is clipping, in which the skull is opened up and a metal clip is placed on the neck of the aneurysm. The other option is less invasive. The doctor puts a catheter into an artery and threads it up to the bleeding site. A guide wire is used to push a platinum wire into the aneurysm - one that coils up and clots off the bleeding. Such a procedure is called endovascular coiling. The coil is less invasive but there is a higher risk of rebleeding at a later date.

The rest of the treatment for a rupture is supportive. Pain medication is given to control the headache. Vasopressors are given to prevent a stroke, Calcium Channel Blockers are given to lessen the vasospasm near the ruptured artery and to reduce brain injury. Medications are given to prevent seizures. Pressure on the brain may need to be controlled through the placement of a ventricular catheter that reduces pressure on the brain by draining the high pressure fluid into the abdominal area. Of course, if there are neurological deficits, there needs to be rehabilitation so the person can return to as normal function as possible.

If the aneurysm hasn't ruptured, doctors can use surgical methods to clip or coil the aneurysm. It all depends on how healthy you are, how young you are and where the aneurism is located. Blood pressure management is also extremely important to lower your risk of having a bleed.

Inadequate surgical treatment may be an issue of medical negligence whereby brain haemorrhage compensation claim solicitors can issue proceedings to claim damages for personal injury and loss.

The treatment of brain aneurysms is usually done when they haven�t ruptured. There are two main treatments of aneurysms. The first is called open surgical clipping, in which the surgeons go in and place a metal clip across the aneurysm where it comes across the main blood vessel. Patients spend 2-3 days in the hospital and are directed not to do heavy activity for a month after the procedure. This is an open procedure, requiring open brain surgery which occasionally results in negligence.

An easier procedure is called �endovascular coiling�. It is a closed procedure in which the surgeon goes into the arterial system of the brain with a coil. The coil is inserted into the aneurysm where it clots off the vessel because of lack of blood flow in the aneurysm. This is now considered the superior procedure, preferred over the open procedure. Stents or balloons may be necessary to keep the coil in place.

If the aneurysm has ruptured, external clips and endovascular coiling can be done, although the patient is in a risky situation. Patients with coils had a 22.6 percent lesser risk of disability when treated with coils. The study that looked into this was stopped partway through because they had realized that to continue with open surgery was not acceptable because of the risk involved.

Brain Aneurysm - Overview

A brain aneurysm is a widening of a blood vessel in the brain which results in weakening of the blood vessel. The blood vessel can burst, leading to bleeding in the brain. The weak spots are located wear the arteries come together and connect with one another. The weak spots balloon out and fill with blood, which is the aneurysm. They are sac-like areas that are likely to leak from the weak points or rupture altogether. If you think that your condition has worsened as a result of medical negligence, contact our brain aneurysm solicitors for advice at no cost.

The cause of brain aneurysms can be hereditary so that you are born with the aneurysm you have. There can be weaknesses due to microscopic damage due to abnormal flow of the junction points of the arteries. These would not be congenital. There are rare causes of aneurysms including those caused by fungi, known as mycotic aneurysms. Cocaine or other drug abuse can cause the artery walls to become inflamed and can weaken the artery wall, leading to an aneurysm.

Brain aneurysms are not uncommon and are found at a rate of 1 percent at autopsy without the aneurysm ever causing a problem. The vast majority of aneurysms are small and never become a clinical emergency. Others get larger and put pressure on the nearby brain tissue causing certain symptoms. The symptoms of an large unruptured aneurysm include having numbness or weakness of one side of the face, headache, dilated pupil or a change in vision.

If an aneurysm leaks or bursts, they potentially can get a stroke or even die. Bleeding leaks into the subarachnoid space around the brain and can cause a subarachnoid haemorrhage. The symptoms include a very severe headache due to brain irritation, a change in vision, stiffness of the neck and pain in the neck or nausea and vomiting.

Doctors diagnose a brain aneurysm by having a high enough index of suspicion. After doing a history and physical exam, the doctor can order a CT scan of the head which will show blood in and around the aneurysm. There will be blood in the subarachnoid space in more than ninety percent of ruptured cases. If there is a high index of suspicion along with a negative ultrasound, a doctor can perform a lumbar puncture or spinal tap, which will show bloody fluid. Angiography can be done to show where the aneurysm is located and the doctor can find the aneurysm in order to get rid of it. A CT scan or MRI scan is done along with a dye study to do the angiogram.

The differential diagnosis of brain aneurysm includes a bad migraine headache, meningitis, stroke, and brain tumour. The above testing can identify what exactly is the cause of the symptoms the patient is having.

The treatment of the brain aneurysm includes a couple of choices. The doctors can do brain surgery and can clip off the aneurysm so it receives no blood supply and cannot leak. Another treatment involves a coiling procedure. The doctor uses a small catheter and enters the brain in the affected blood vessel. The catheter contains a small coil at the end of it that is inserted into the aneurysm. The aneurysm clots around the coil and will prevent the brain aneurysm from leaking or bleeding.

Both treatment options can result in damage to the blood vessels and worsened bleeding. There can be damage to nearby tissue. The surrounding blood vessels can go into spasm, causing a stroke to happen.

Brain aneurysms are dangerous. About ten percent of ruptured aneurysm patients die before even seeing a doctor and another fifty percent will die within the month. Twenty five percent of those with a brain aneurysm who do not die immediately will have another episode of bleeding within a week of the first bleeding episode. There is a big risk of getting a spasm of a nearby artery so that the person can have a stroke. If the person arrives at the hospital in a speedy fashion, there is a much higher risk of survival.

Medical Negligence Solicitors

According to the World Health Organisation the highest incidence of medical negligence in the developed world occurs in Australia. If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to an aneurysm medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline complete the contact form or email our solicitors offices . A medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.

Following a review of the circumstances of the injury and of the medical records you will be advised whether you have a reasonable claim and if so, what steps you should take to protect your legal right to receive compensation. All of our brain aneurysm solicitors use no win no fee arrangements to represent their clients which means that if your brain aneurysm solicitor doesn't achieve settlement then he doesn't get paid his professional costs and the client does not receive a bill for legal costs.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here