Dr. Ansaar Rai

By Ansaar Rai, MD

A ruptured brain aneurysm is a very serious emergency that requires urgent treatment and care. WVU Medicine interventional neuroradiologists, operating as part of the Department of Radiology and the Department of Neurosurgery, offer round-the-clock diagnosis and treatment for ruptured brain aneurysms with minimally invasive treatments and technology. The team includes me, Jeffrey Carpenter, MD, and SoHyun Boo, MD.

A brain aneurysm is a swollen area in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain. This weakened area will either go unnoticed over a person’s life or rupture, causing hemorrhage or bleeding around the brain.

About three to five million people in the United States have small aneurysms, about 1/4 inch, but most do not have any symptoms. If an aneurysm enlarges to 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch, it can produce headaches or pain, difficulty with vision, numbness or weakness of an arm or leg, difficulty with memory or speech, or seizures.

Some possible causes of brain aneurysms include being age 40 or older, high blood pressure, and smoking. People with a family history of aneurysms are at higher risk of developing this condition and should receive an MRI screening.

Discovering an aneurysm before it ruptures is ideal for patients, as this allows treatment to be performed in a controlled fashion and not during a critical emergency.

It is important to note that not all aneurysms need to be treated. Aneurysms with a lower risk of hemorrhage can be monitored in our clinic with an MRI or CT scan. Medication can be prescribed to help ease headaches and eye pain, or to help prevent blockage of the blood vessels and relieve cranial pressure.

Large aneurysms located in critical areas of the brain have a higher risk of hemorrhage, and therefore, treatment is recommended.

For aneurysms requiring immediate intervention, WVU Medicine interventional neuroradiologists thread small tubes and wires through an artery in the groin to reach the brain aneurysm and treat it by placing thin, platinum wires called coils or other devices to seal off the aneurysm. This minimally invasive approach has replaced more invasive surgeries requiring operations through the skull.

Interventional treatment of aneurysms typically requires an overnight stay in the hospital with patients returning to their normal activities in a few days.

Patients coming to WVU Medicine can also benefit from therapies that are not yet available at other medical centers. Our interventional neuroradiologists frequently participate in clinical trials for brain aneurysms to test the effectiveness of new techniques and treatments.

Make an appointment: 855-WVU-CARE