Also known as: brain aneurysms.

What are aneurysms?

An aneurysm is a bulging weak spot in the wall of an artery and frequently occurs where arteries branch (usually in the brain, but can occur in other blood vessels, such as the aorta and peripheral blood vessels). The most common type is a saccular aneurysm (the wall bulges on one side of the vessel). This type is also most likely to burst (rupture) and bleed. The less common form of aneurysm is a fusiform aneurysm, in which there is a bulge all the way around the vessel. Aneurysms are rare in children and tend to occur more frequently in boys than in girls.

What causes aneurysms?

The cause is usually unknown but some are hereditary, and others may be caused by trauma to a vessel or infection.

What are the symptoms of aneurysms?

Generally, aneurysms don’t cause symptoms unless they burst or are large enough to cause symptoms by pressing on tissues or nerves.

In the brain, a rupture may seal itself off but leave blood pooled around it. This is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage. (Aneurysms that don’t seal themselves can lead to fatal bleeding.) A ruptured brain aneurysm usually presents with a severe headache. Other symptoms include a stiff neck, seizures, nausea, vomiting, weakness, eye changes and light sensitivity, loss of consciousness and coma.

What are aneurysm care options?

Depending on the type, size, site, and risks associated with rupture, aneurysms may be monitored or actively treated. A number of treatments exist, and your Nicklaus Children’s Hospital neurosurgical team will discuss these with you to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 03:59 PM