Early Detection Makes a Difference in the Treatment of Brain Aneurysms

Bret Michael's Recent Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Offers Opportunity to Raise Awareness of Symptoms of Brain Aneurysms

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Boston, MA (PRWEB) April 29, 2010 -

On April 23, 2010, Poison lead singer and reality television personality Bret Michaels suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Seventy to eighty percent of spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhages are caused by ruptured cerebral aneurysms, and more than 25,000 people in the United States will be affected by a ruptured brain aneurysm this year. By raising awareness of the symptoms of unruptured brain aneurysms and helping first responders diagnose ruptured aneurysms, The Brain Aneurysm Foundation hopes to reduce the incidence of brain aneurysm ruptures and save lives.

An estimated 3-6 million people in the U.S. have an unruptured brain aneurysm, a weak bulging on the wall of a brain artery, which can occur at any age. Of those patients, about 25,000 individuals annually will suffer a ruptured brain aneurysm, which causes bleeding, or hemorrhaging, into the area surrounding the brain, the subarachnoid space. Half of all people who experience a massive hemorrhage do not survive, and of those that survive, most live with severe long-term deficits due to damaged brain cells. Patients who survive a subarachnoid hemorrhage have a longer recovery time than those with unruptured brain aneurysms, and recovery times and long-term disabilities are proportional to the severity of the hemorrhage.

Most people with unruptured brain aneurysms are completely asymptomatic; however, some people may experience warning signs which might suggest an aneurysm, such as cranial nerve palsy, dilated pupils, double vision, pain above and behind the eye and localized headaches. If a brain aneurysm is diagnosed early with proper screening, it is possible for a rupture to be prevented.

With early detection, most brain aneurysms requiring treatment can be repaired with a craniotomy or endovascular therapy. One common treatment is clipping with a titanium clip. In other cases, brain aneurysms may be repaired with tiny coils, inserted typically into the femoral artery at the groin and then navigated through a catheter up to the brain, to the region of the aneurysm itself, where the coils are released to seal off the aneurysm.

Those suffering from a ruptured brain aneurysm will often have physical warning signs such as localized headache, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light and change in mental status. Early diagnosis of a ruptured aneurysm can make a significant difference in the recovery of the patient. To help ensure the proper diagnosis of brain aneurysms, The Brain Aneurysm Foundation has developed an educational video entitled Early Detection of Brain Aneurysms: Life vs. Death. Designed to educate primary care physicians, emergency room physicians and first responders on the early detection of brain aneurysms, this 20 minute video focuses on recognizing the symptoms related to a brain aneurysm and performing appropriate diagnostic brain imaging to determine if an aneurysm is present.

Early Detection of Brain Aneurysms: Life vs. Death is available now at http://www.bafound.org or by calling 888-272-4602. The program can be viewed for CME credit.

About the Brain Aneurysm Foundation
The Brain Aneurysm Foundation was established in Boston, MA on August 19, 1994 as a public charity. The Brain Aneurysm Foundation is the nation's only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to providing critical awareness, education, support and research funding to reduce the incidence of brain aneurysm ruptures. For more information, visit: http://www.bafound.org.

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