• An estimated 6 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people.
• The annual rate of rupture is approximately 8 – 10 per 100,000 people or about 30,000 people in the United States suffer a brain aneurysm rupture. There is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.
• Approximately 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) die before reaching the hospital. Most of the deaths from subarachnoid hemorrhage are due to rapid and massive brain injury from the initial bleeding which is not correctable by medical and surgical interventions.
• 4 out of 7 people who recover from a ruptured brain aneurysm will have disabilities.
• Brain aneurysms are most prevalent in people ages 35 – 60, but can occur in children as well. The median age when aneurysmal hemorrhagic stroke occurs is 50 years old and there are typically no warning signs. Most aneurysms develop after the age of 40.
• Women, more than men, suffer from brain aneurysms at a ratio of 3:2.
• Ruptured brain aneurysms account for 3 – 5% of all new strokes.
Patient benefits to Early Diagnosis:
• Accurate early diagnosis is critical, as the initial hemorrhage may be fatal, may result in devastating neurologic outcomes, or may produce minor symptoms. Despite widespread neuroimaging availability, misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis occurs in up to 25% of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) when initially presenting for medical treatment. Failure to do a scan results in 73% of these misdiagnoses. This makes SAH a low-frequency, high-risk disease.
• Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is one of the most feared causes of acute headache upon presentation to the emergency department. Headache accounts for 1 – 2% of the emergency room visits and up to 4% of visits to the primary care offices. Among all the patients who present to the emergency room with headaches, approximately 1% has subarachnoid hemorrhage. One study put the figure at 4%.
• There are almost 500,000 deaths worldwide each year caused by brain aneurysms and half the victims are younger than 50.
• Based on a 2004 study, the combined lost wages of survivors of brain aneurysm rupture and their caretaker for a year were $138,000,000
Early Detection and screening:
Brain aneurysms can be similar to heart attacks. Just like a person may have no warning of an impending heart attack, there almost is never a warning that a brain aneurysm is about to rupture. Fortunately, through imaging screening techniques, individuals at high risk of harboring a brain aneurysm can be identified easily with non-invasive imaging tests.
Risk factors for developing brain aneurysms include cigarette use, disorders of the body’s structural proteins (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan syndrome), fibromuscular dysplasia, chronic hypertension, history of cerebral aneurysms in closely related family members, use of cocaine, crack or amphetamines and polycystic kidney disease.
If two or more members of the family are affected with brain aneurysms, then aneurysm screening (with brain MRA or brain CTA) is usually recommended for at least the first degree relatives over the age of 25 of those affected.
Understanding : Risk Factors
Risk factors that doctors and researchers believe contribute to the formation of brain aneurysms:
• High blood pressure or hypertension
• Congenital resulting from inborn abnormality in artery wall
• Family history of brain aneurysms
• Age over 40
• Gender, women compared with men have an increased incidence of aneurysms at a ratio of 3:2
• Other disorders: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Marfan Syndrome, and Fibromuscular Dysplasia(FMD)
• Presence of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
• Drug use, particularly cocaine
• Traumatic head injury
Risk factors that doctors and researchers believe contribute to the rupture of brain aneurysms:
• High blood pressure or hypertension
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