A brain aneurysm, also known as a cerebral aneurysm, is a weak spot on a blood vessel located in the brain that expands outward and fills up with blood. Brain aneurysms can occur anywhere within the brain, but aneurysms form most frequently between the underside of the brain and the base of the skull along a loop of arteries. Prognosis of a brain aneurysm depends heavily on whether the aneurysm in the brain has ruptured.
A brain aneurysm can be classified in two manners: one based on its formation in the brain and the other based on its size. A saccular aneurysm is the most common type of brain aneurysm, where the aneurysm is attached to an artery or branch of a blood vessel by a stem. A lateral aneurysm has the appearance of a bulge on a wall of a blood vessel, while a fusiform aneurysm forms along the widening of the walls of a blood vessel. A small aneurysm has a diameter of less than 11 mm, a large aneurysm has a diameter between 11 and 25 mm, and a giant aneurysm has a diameter greater than 25 mm.
A person can live with an unruptured aneurysm her entire life without noticing the aneurysm. However, a ruptured brain aneurysm can be deadly, and treatment is required immediately. As a result of a ruptured brain aneurysm, the patient can develop a hemorrhagic stroke, vasospasm, hydrocephalus, coma, or short-term or permanent brain damage.
Prognosis of a ruptured brain aneurysm is dependent on multiple factors. A younger patient in good general health will recover better. In addition, other preexisting neurological conditions can complicate a patient's recovery. When the brain aneurysm ruptures, the location of the aneurysm, the extent of the bleeding from the rupture, the time of the rupture and medical attention have a huge influence on the prognosis of the brain aneurysm.
Treatment of an unruptured brain aneurysm has a better prognosis than treatment of the aneurysm after it ruptures. By treating the brain aneurysm before it ruptures, the patient needs less rehabilitative therapy and she will recover quicker. The time of recovery can take from weeks to months, depending on the aneurysm's severity.
Some brain aneurysm patients recover with little or no neurological deficits. However, many ruptured brain aneurysm patients suffer complications. Within the first 24 hours of rupture, 40 percent of patients do not survive. Twenty five percent more die from complications within 6 months. If the patient has a subarachnoid hemorrhage, she may have permanent neurological damage.