What are the chances of surviving a brain aneurysm?

People can go their entire lives not knowing they have an unruptured brain aneurysm. As long as it’s intact, your odds are good. But there is a risk that the brain aneurysm will rupture, which depends on many factors, including aneurysm size, location and several others. If an aneurysm does rupture, it leaks blood into the space surrounding your brain and sometimes into the brain tissue itself, causing a hemorrhagic stroke.

A ruptured brain aneurysm requires emergency medical treatment. As more time passes with a ruptured aneurysm, the likelihood of death or disability increases. About 75% of people with a ruptured brain aneurysm survive longer than 24 hours. A quarter of the survivors, though, may have life-ending complications within six months.

Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you think you are having symptoms of a brain aneurysm or ruptured aneurysm. The sooner you can get medical attention, the greater your chance of survival.

What are the complications if you have a brain bleed?

When the aneurysm leaks or bursts open, blood flows into or around the brain. The pooling blood irritates brain tissue, which can make the brain swell. The result can be permanent brain damage, stroke or other complications such as:

  • Vasospasm, when blood vessels get narrower and less oxygen reaches the brain.
  • Hydrocephalus, a buildup of spinal fluid around the brain, sometimes called “water on the brain,” that puts pressure on the brain.
  • Coma, when you lose consciousness for several days to weeks.
  • Hyponatremia, when the blood’s sodium level changes, which can make brain cells swell and cause brain damage.
  • Seizures, or muscle convulsions, which can cause further brain damage.

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