Cerebral aneurysm overview

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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Overview

A cerebral aneurysm or brain aneurysm is a cerebrovascular disorder in which weakness in the wall of a cerebral artery or vein causes a localized dilation or ballooning of the blood vessel.

A common location of cerebral aneurysms is on the arteries at the base of the brain, known as the Circle of Willis. Approximately 85% of cerebral aneurysms develop in the anterior part of the Circle of Willis, and involve the internal carotid arteries and their major branches that supply the anterior and middle sections of the brain. The most common sites include the anterior communicating artery (30-35%), the bifurcation of the internal carotid and posterior communicating artery (30-35%), the bifurcation of the middle cerebral artery (20%), the bifurcation of the basilar artery, and the remaining posterior circulation arteries (5%).

Medical Therapy

Surgery

Emergency treatment for individuals with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm generally includes restoring deteriorating respiration and reducing intracranial pressure. Currently there are two treatment options for brain aneurysms. Either surgical clipping or endovascular coiling is usually performed within the first three days to occlude the ruptured aneurysm and reduce the risk of rebleeding.

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