Question

Brain Aneurysms

What causes a cerebral aneurysm?

A Answers (2)

  • Cerebral aneurysms can be congenital, resulting from an inborn abnormality in an artery wall. They are more common in people with certain genetic diseases, such as connective tissue disorders, polycystic kidney disease, or circulatory disorders, such as arteriovenous malformations (snarled tangles of arteries and veins in the brain that disrupt blood flow).

    Other causes include trauma or injury to the head, high blood pressure, infection, tumors, atherosclerosis (a blood vessel disease in which fats build up on the inside of artery walls) and other diseases of the vascular system, cigarette smoking, and drug abuse. Some investigators have speculated that oral contraceptives may increase the risk of aneurysms.

    Aneurysms that result from an infection in the arterial wall are called mycotic aneurysms. Cancer-related aneurysms are often associated with primary or metastatic tumors of the head and neck. Drug abuse, particularly the habitual use of cocaine, can inflame blood vessels and lead to the development of aneurysms in the brain.

    This answer from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

  • AJack Klem, MD, Neurosurgery, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    A cerebral or brain aneurysm is the result of thinning or weakening of artery walls. This degenerating in the vascular wall can result in a bulging or blood-filled sac. In rare cases, the aneurysm can rupture.
    A person may inherit a propensity for aneurysms, or aneurysms may develop because of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and aging.
    Risk factors include a family history of aneurysms, gender, race, hypertension (high blood pressure) and smoking.
    In most cases, a cerebral aneurysm causes no or few symptoms. 
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