Public Service Announcement: Who should be screened for a brain aneurysm?
Years of scientific research have confirmed many of the major risk factors for brain aneurysms, which can rupture and cause a bleeding stroke. Despite the absence of government recommendations for expensive screening procedures, physicians at Mayfield Brain & Spine strongly recommend screening for people at high risk of a rupture, which has a mortality rate of 48 percent.
Those at risk of harboring dangerous brain aneurysms include people who:
- have two first-degree family members who have suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm
- smoke, drink excessively, or suffer from hypertension (a smoker is 4.5 times more likely to suffer a bleeding stroke than a nonsmoker)
- suffer from disorders of the arteries, including fibromuscular dysplasia and polycystic kidney disease
- are between 50 and 60 years of age
We urge patients who have family members with aneurysms, or who know they harbor small aneurysms of their own, to stop smoking to reduce the risk of enlargement and or the development of the aneurysm.
In addition, screening with MR angiography or CT angiography is strongly advised for anyone who has two first-degree family members who have experienced a ruptured aneurysm. Screening is 90 percent effective for aneurysms of 2 millimeters and 100 percent effective for aneurysms larger than 5 millimeters, with the risk of false positives extremely low.
The Mayfield Clinic is recognized as one of the nation's largest and most advanced physician organizations for clinical care, education, and research of the spine and brain. Supported by a multidisciplinary team of specialists in neurosurgery, interventional radiology, neurocritical care, and physical medicine & rehabilitation, the Clinic treats 25,000 patients from 35 states and 13 countries in a typical year. Mayfield's physicians have pioneered minimally invasive surgical procedures and instrumentation that have revolutionized the medical art of neurosurgery for brain tumors and neurovascular diseases and disorders.
Should you be screened for an aneurysm?
1 in 50 may seem like small odds. However, when that 1 in 50 could be a family member — or you — would you want to know the risk? Click here to learn more and download our Family Guide to Brain Aneurysm Risks and Screening