Science Matters: Brain Aneurysm Month to Alert People to Deadly and Usually Undiagnosed Danger in Millions of Americans | Community Idea Stations

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Science Matters: Brain Aneurysm Month to Alert People to Deadly and Usually Undiagnosed Danger in Millions of Americans

This month is Brain Aneurysm Month and the CDC says an estimated six million of us have an aneurysm in our head that could rupture without warning, resulting in disability or death unless treated early.

Twenty-two year old Melissa Hurley was a Certified Nurse Assistant, at work, in a hospital. She was answering a Code Blue when she was struck by a severe headache in the back of her head, that got worse quickly until her pain was unbearable.

She was taken to the emergency room, where a CT scan revealed nothing, but a subsequent spinal tap revealed blood in liquid that should have been clear.

Rushed to VCU, she was operated on by a team of specialists led by Dr. Dennis Rivet, who stopped the bleeding, saved her life and enabled her to resume her job and go on with her life.

The Brain Aneurysm Foundation says six million Americans, about one in 50, have unruptured, undetected brain aneurysms, and that 30,000 rupture annually. Immediate treatment is crucial to saving lives and reducing the chances of disability.

Brain Aneurysm Month is to make people aware of the danger:

  • The annual rate of rupture is approximately 8-10 per 100,000 or about 30 thousand people per year. There is a brain aneurysm every 18 minutes. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive,about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.
  • Brain aneurysms are most prevalent in people ages 35-60,but can occur in children as well. There are typically no warning signs.
  • Women more than men, suffer from brain aneurysms at a ratio of 3:2.
  • Early diagnosis is critical, but despite widespread neuroimaging availability, misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis occurs in up to 25% of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage when initially presented for treatment.