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What are the Effects of an Aneurysm?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The effects of an aneurysm will depend on what type of aneurysm it is. Cerebral varieties occur in the brain when an artery becomes swollen with blood and forms a small pocket. The same happens in an abdominal aneurysm, with the difference being in the location of the swollen artery. Both conditions may cause no effects at all if the growths are small and do not rupture, or they may result in seizures, stroke, internal bleeding, vision changes, and death.

Small aneurysms that have not ruptured often do not usually cause any symptoms, and as long as they do not continue to grow or eventually burst, a person can live their entire life with one and never even realize it's there. Larger ones or those that have ruptured, on the other hand, can lead to serious and life-threatening complications. The effects of an aneurysm that has ruptured or one that is very large may vary based on the individual and the area the aneurysm is located.

Cerebral aneurysms occur in the brain and may lead to headaches, vision changes, moodiness, personality changes, migraines, sensitivity to light, dizziness, nausea, and stroke. If the aneurysm hasn’t ruptured, many times surgery can be performed to remove or kill it by cutting off its blood supply. Long-term effects of an aneurysm that has not ruptured can still be severe. After removal extreme rehabilitation may be needed for the patient to re-learn how to walk, talk, eat and care for himself.

Ruptured cerebral aneurysms lead to death more than half the time. Many patients die within a half hour of rupture, and others may die several months later, due to complications. Patients who survive may have lifelong disabilities due to brain damage, or may have to undergo months or even years of rehabilitation to learn everyday tasks again. Occasionally, a patient will suffer no long-term effects of an aneurysm, although this is relatively rare after a rupture.

Abdominal aneurysms are very similar to those which occur in the brain. Smaller ones that have not ruptured are often monitored for potential growth and may cause no effects at all. Larger varieties may result in abdominal pain and bloat, and are usually surgically removed or killed in much the same way as a cerebral aneurysm. Burst aneurysms in the abdomen often lead to death, but the survival rate is higher than for those which occur in the brain.

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Discussion Comments
By anon999573 — On Feb 04, 2018

I had a large brain aneurysm (intracranial) in 2008 all went well now 10 years later I have started having headaches again pain level from 3.5 to 7.5 . My neuro doctor said I just need to live with it. Yes I am going to find another doctor. But want to know if this has happened to anyone else. Delores

By anon994760 — On Mar 04, 2016

My sister-in-law had a brain aneurysm that nearly killed her, and now, nine months later, her personality seems to have changed. She is combative and defensive. Is this common among aneurysm survivors? Also, six months after the aneurysm it was discovered that she had early-stage stomach cancer, and her entire stomach was removed.

By anon336367 — On May 28, 2013

My father had an aneurysm in early March 2013. It was sudden and very unexpected. In just 24 hours, I watched a very smart, active and independent man almost lose his life. He had a build up of fluid on the brain, vaso spasms, he developed pneumonia, spiked a high blood sugar and blood pressure and had a tracheostomy. And even with all those odds stacked against him, he survived. He spent all of March and April in the hospital. He went from ICU, to long term care, to a rehab facility. He was released to come home the first week of May. He is expected to make a 100 percent recovery, but it's going to take a lot of time to bring him back to where he was.

By lovealot — On Oct 18, 2011

It's scary to think that some of us might have an aneurysm in our brain or stomach and not even know it. And to think that it might just stay there the rest of our lives, or it might get bigger or break open at any time.

It's very important to treat high blood pressure. If you don't, it could cause your blood vessels to become weak and an aneurysm could form. If you have chronic headaches, it's also wise to have it checked out by a doctor.

By BabaB — On Oct 17, 2011

@andee - That was very sad about the young man who had an aneurysm so early in his life. It's hard to understand why those things happen.

I have a friend who had a stroke not long ago caused by an aneurysm. After a lot of therapy, she is able to walk and move around fairly well, but she has lost her ability to speak, which is very frustrating for her.

I hope that someday, science will find a way to detect aneurysms and easily get rid of them before they cause damage.

By andee — On Oct 17, 2011

I know a man who had a brain aneurysm at just 24 years of age. This happened around 30 years ago, and he still exhibits side effects from this today.

It seems like the only symptoms of an aneurysm he had was a really bad headache. He was in the hospital for months and he had a long road of physical therapy too.

This affected the entire right side of his body. He walks with a limp and only has partial use of his right arm and hand. He is just thankful to be alive.

This changed his whole life though. Even though he was young when it happened, that is not something you expect - especially since he had been so active and athletic.

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