Many people think of MRI imaging as the gold standard in identifying cancers and hard masses. However, MRI scans are also able to image soft tissues, and can be an extremely useful tool in preventative detection of a silent threat - brain aneurysms. Often occurring without warning, aneurysms can rupture with deadly consequences. Fortunately, with early identification, this potentially life-threatening condition can be effectively treated, and a Prenuvo MRI scan is a swift and painless first step in prevention of a rupture.
What is an aneurysm?
An aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning of the wall of a blood vessel, usually resulting from the weakening of an arterial wall. Within the vessels carrying blood to the brain, an aneurysm (called a cerebral aneurysm) can potentially leak or rupture, causing a hemorrhagic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency which requires immediate medical attention and treatment to relieve pressure in the brain and to prevent cellular death in brain tissue.
It’s unclear what causes cerebral aneurysms, but certain congenital and lifestyle factors can increase risk, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and family history of cerebral aneurysms. People older than 65 also have a higher risk than younger adults.
Symptoms of an aneurysm
An unruptured brain aneurysm is often asymptomatic, especially if it is small. Even larger aneurysms may produce no symptoms, which is why scanning plays such an important role in detection. Some symptoms of an unruptured cerebral aneurysm may include:
- Pain above and behind one eye
- A dilated pupil
- A change in vision or double vision
- Numbness of one side of the face
The primary symptom of a ruptured brain aneurysm is a sudden, severe headache often described as a “thunderclap” headache. Other symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff neck
- Blurred or double vision
- Sensitivity to light
- A drooping eyelid
- Loss of consciousness
Treatment for aneurysm
Cerebral aneurysms detected early can be effectively treated. Most cerebral aneurysms do not burst or rupture, but those that are deemed a medical risk or found in patients with other risk factors can be addressed with surgery. Typical treatments include the application of a coil within the aneurysm to prevent blood flow within the aneurysm or inserting a clip around the aneurysm to seal it shut. Often, brain aneurysms are left untreated and are simply monitored over time to assess ongoing risk of rupture. This monitoring can also be done as part of a Prenuvo scan.
Aneurysm detection in Prenuvo Scans
A Prenuvo Whole Body or Head & Torso Scan is a highly effective tool in the early detection of cerebral aneurysm and therefore the prevention of hemorrhagic stroke. Prenuvo scans can clearly identify brain aneurysms and provide diagnostic quality images to be shared with outside medical professionals, who can monitor the risk.
A deadly condition that often shows no warning signs and can occur in otherwise young and healthy adults, like brain aneurysms, is a key reason why Prenuvo scans are the foundation of proactive healthcare. Prenuvo scans can provide critical peace of mind and much needed advanced warning.