Brain Aneurysm Signs & Symptoms

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Neuroscience Institute Swedish Cerebrovascular Center

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Whether or not you are at risk for brain aneurysm, it is wise to know the signs and symptoms.

At first, you may not know you have a brain aneurysm because it may be present for a long time without causing any symptoms. It may be discovered only when you have testing or imaging for some other condition. That is why it is important for you to talk with your doctor about early detection if you are at risk for aneurysm.

Signs and symptoms that an aneurysm is growing

An aneurysm that is growing, but hasn’t burst, may cause pressure on nerves or tissue in the brain. This pressure may cause:

  • Headache or neck pain
  • Fuzzy or double vision, or loss of vision
  • Numbness in the face
  • Enlarged pupil size
  • Drooping eye lid
  • Severe drowsiness

Signs and symptoms that an aneurysm has burst

An aneurysm that has burst or ruptured allows blood to flow into the space surrounding the brain (subarachnoid space) or directly into the brain. The symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm come on suddenly. You may experience:

  • A sudden, severe headache (many people describe this type of headache as “the worst headache of my life”)
  • Severe stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Mental confusion
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Losing consciousness

If you – or a friend or relative – experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Learn more about brain aneurysm