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What happens when someone goes to the emergency room with an aneurysm?

Dr. Geoffrey P. Colby, MD
Neurosurgeon

When someone goes to the emergency room with an aneurysm and symptoms of a possible aneurysm rupture, a computed tomography (CT) scan is typically done. A CT is an excellent means for detecting blood that might have leaked out from an aneurysm. If leakage is evident, further testing is done to identify the location of the aneurysm, and treatment begins so that the aneurysm doesn't bleed again.

When a patient has had what appears to be the rupture of an aneurysm, is it bleeding at that moment in time? No, it's not. The aneurysm bleeds for a few seconds, then seals itself off. A clot forms at the top, closing the hole. In this case treatment is necessary to seal the aneurysm so that a second hemorrhage, which is almost invariably fatal, doesn't occur.

If the aneurysm did not seal itself off and the bleeding is ongoing and continuous, the patient is dead on arrival. That is universally a fatal event.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.