Cerebral Aneurysm - Treatment

If an aneurysm has not ruptured, it may be left untreated. A person with an aneurysm has a 1 percent chance of having a rupture each year. As time goes on, a doctor may eventually decide to remove an aneurysm surgically. But the surgery may be more risky than leaving the aneurysm in place and monitoring any changes that may occur in its shape and size.

Once an aneurysm ruptures, the first step is to save the patient's life. Left untreated, a ruptured aneurysm can cause death in a short period of time. Patients may require both oxygen and fluids to remain stable. Medications may be needed to keep damaged blood vessels from collapsing. A drug known as nimodipine (pronounced ni-MO-dih-peen, trade name Nimotop) is often used for this purpose.

If the patient survives the rupture of an aneurysm, surgery is usually necessary. The purpose of the surgery is to close off the aneurysm and prevent it from further bleeding. In one approach, a clip is placed around the base of the aneurysm. The clip usually solves the problem for a while. However, the aneurysm may break loose again later, close to the point where the clip was placed.

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