Aneurysm

NHRMC Aneurysm Care

With a full range of treatment options, our experts are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer care for even the most complex aneurysm cases. 

MEET THE EXPERTS

With an experienced and dedicated team of experts in a range of aneurysm prevention, management and treatment options, your care ranks among the best in the state.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center provides advanced treatment for aneurysms, including some of the first procedures of their kind in the state.

Our services include:

Dedicated, Round-the-Clock Care for Brain & Spine Conditions

Whether your condition requires careful monitoring, treatment or emergency intervention, NHRMC is the region's only hospital with a Neuroscience Care Unit, a Stroke Care Unit and neurosurgical operating suites. Our experts are available 24/7 to care for you from routine to complex conditions.

Expert Neurology and Neurosurgery Specialists

If you need comprehensive monitoring and assessment or require immediate, emergency care, NHRMC has the expertise and resources to ensure you the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

Highly Advanced and Minimally Invasive Procedures

NHRMC provides a full range of treatment options for aneurysms, including minimally invasive and the newest and most advanced procedures. Our experts are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer care for even the most complex cases.

Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

NHRMC uses the most advanced equipment and procedures to diagnose and treat brain aneurysms.  

What is a Brain Aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm happens when an area in the wall of a blood vessel weakens and bulges. Although an aneurysms can occur in any blood vessel, it most often develops in an artery.

If an aneurysm ruptures, it releases blood into the brain - and this can be dangerous or even life-threatening.

Risk Factors for Aneurysm

While there is no exact known cause for aneurysm, some factors and conditions are linked to aneurysm including:

  • Congenital conditions (present at birth)
  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Head injury

Other factors have been linked to increased risk of aneurysms including:

  • Older age
  • Male
  • Family history
  • Genetic factors
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure 
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Symptoms of Aneurysm

Most aneurysms have no symptoms, and you may not know you have an aneurysm. Generally, symptoms occur if the aneurysm is pressing on a nearby structure or once it ruptures.

Some symptoms of aneurysm that may occur before rupture include:

  • Headaches (very rare, if there is no rupture)
  • Eye pain
  • Vision changes
  • Less able to move the eye

Aneurysm rupture is a serious condition and must be treated quickly. If your aneurysm ruptures, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Sudden severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Visual disturbance
  • Loss of consciousness

Because the symptoms of aneurysm may look like other conditions, it is important to be evaluated by a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.

Diagnosing Aneurysms

An aneurysm is often found once it ruptures, or it might be found during imaging for another reason. Other diagnostic tools used to detect aneurysm include:

  • Cerebral angiography: Using a thin tube called a catheter inserted into an artery in the leg, contrast dye is injected and images of the blood vessels in the brain are made to find a problem with vessels and blood flow.
  • CT scan:  This test uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan can help show the location of the aneurysm and if it has burst or is leaking.
  • MRI: Powerful magnets are used to create 3D images of the brain. An MRI can help detect small changes in brain tissue and be used to find and diagnose an aneurysm.
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA): This is a noninvasive test that uses an MRI and IV (intravenous) contrast dye to show blood vessels. Contrast dye causes blood vessels to look opaque on the MRI image and lets the doctor to see the blood vessels more clearly.

Treating Aneurysms

The main goal of aneurysm treatment is to decrease the risk of bleeding in the brain. This is done through careful monitoring to prevent a rupture or if the aneurysm has ruptured, to repair the aneurysm as quickly as possible.

Clipping

Surgeons make an incision in the back of the head through which they place a small metal clip or clips along the neck of the aneurysm. Clipping the aneurysm prevents blood from entering the aneurysm sac and reduces the risk for future bleeding.This procedure is done by removing part of the skull to reach the aneurysm. The surgeon places a metal clip across the neck of the aneurysm. This is done to prevent blood flow into the aneurysm bulge. Once the clipping is done, the skull is closed back together.

Endovascular Repair

This is a minimally invasive approach to aneurysm repair that does not require incisions in the skull. Using a catheter, your surgeon may place tiny platinum coils into the aneurysm to cut off the blood supply and prevent rupture.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is also the first in the state to offer aneurysm repair using a Woven EndoBridge (WEB)  Aneurysm Embolization System repair. The WEB device involves placing a tiny mesh basket into the aneurysm to help seal it off.