Patient Comments: Brain Aneurysm - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with your brain aneurysm?

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

I had a right vertebral dissection aneurysm in November 2005. I had the worst headache of my life. I thought it was just from stress. I was 47 years old and have a history of migraines. Three months before the aneurysm, my mother had a massive stroke and my son and his wife had a baby three days later. I was in college doing specialized clinical rotations around our state. My husband has multiple medical problems and wasn't in the best of health at the time. I actually did three days of clinicals with the headache before going to the hospital. At that time, I was taking 1000 mg ibuprofen with 5 mg Zomig (migraine medication) every three hours with no relief. When I went to the ER, they did a CT scan and two spinal taps before sending me to a bigger hospital that was equipped to deal with brain injuries. I had four coils placed in the artery and suffered a mild stroke during the procedure. I was in the hospital for a week, five days of which I don't remember anything except having a central line placed. Since then, I've graduated from college and am working in my chosen field. I have some residual weakness on the left side, which is only apparent if I get overly tired. My left optic nerve has also been damaged, so I frequently have to get my eye glass prescription changed. I have some balance issues but, through physical therapy, have learned to deal with them. I was told that had I waited another hour or two to go to the hospital, I would have died. I think the hardest part of this has been dealing with people who don't know how an experience like this can affect you. I try to perform as well as my coworkers but, sometimes, the added stress causes really bad headaches. I still get nervous whenever this happens. In the back of my mind I'm always wondering, is this just stress or another aneurysm?

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Comment from: MJ, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 27

I went around for approximately two years with one eye that would keep acting as a "Kolidascope". I went to Primary Doctor, retina specialist, optometrist, and another type of eye specialist. All I got from them what that my eye was fine. One day I had a very strange stiff neck; it felt like something was wrapped around my face. A CT found two aneurysms. A year later and three surgeries I have a clip, a stint and lots of coils in three aneurysms. Other than having some short term memory loss at times, which could be age (51), I have no real problems three years later. The point I am making, is that it is better to know and deal with unruptured aneurysms than ruptured ones.

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Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 23

My first symptom of brain aneurysm was severe headache that I had never felt before. Then it was shortness of breath. I couldn't move, then I lost consciousness. Thankfully I was still at work which happened to be hospital.

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Comment from: diana b, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

My aneurysm ruptured in 2005, it started out as a severe headache and the rupture occurred while I slept. I was fortunate to have family that took me to the emergency room (ER). A nurse in the ER recognized the symptoms and alerted a neurosurgeon who ordered a CT scan. It was believed I would not survive the night, it took me nine months of therapy before I was able to return to work. However, the rupture damaged the nerves in my spinal cord causing them to tether and stick together. Seven years after surviving the aneurysm, I am in a wheelchair unable to walk. This has been the hardest battle of my life, I still fight daily to survive, the pain and nerve issues are constant... but I lived.

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Comment from: dixeerose, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I had a sudden headache, vomiting, photosensitivity, and slurred speech because of the brain aneurysm.

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Comment from: survived, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 04

I woke in the middle of the night with a head ache, worse than I ever had before. Then I became disoriented and my left arm went numb. Was taken to a local hospital. The scan machines were not working so was taken by ambulance to larger hospital. After many scans and tests, it was determined that I had a brain aneurysm and two mini strokes. After the last scan, before surgery was scheduled, it was determined that it had healed over itself. The doctor has no answers and called me his "miracle baby". That was five years ago. I no longer have the terrible headaches which I was having. It took about six months before I was back to normal.

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Comment from: Tmack, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 10

I suffered a brain aneurysm 5 months ago. I was weightlifting, routine for me, when a sudden headache came on. It felt as though my head was in a vice and getting squeezed. I sat down to see if it would pass but it gradually got more intense, now with nausea. An ambulance took me to a local hospital where I eventually started vomiting badly. The ER doc ordered a CT scan, from which was found a berry aneurysm in the Circle Of Willis section of my brain which had hemorrhaged causing a subarachnoid hemorrhage. I was transferred to another hospital where coiling was attempted to seal the berry. It was unsuccessful, thus, a craniotomy was performed to clip the berry with a titanium clip. The neurosurgeon and his team did a fantastic job. The surgery and clipping was successful. I returned to my career as a firefighter five months after surgery, having lost no body functions at all and only suffer very minor sporadic headaches. I knew the headache I had was definitely different than any other I had ever had which is why I called for an ambulance. I never thought it was a bleed and aneurysm. Absolutely call for help if you suffer a sudden severe headache or head pressure definitely with or even without nausea/vomiting.

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