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How is a brain aneurysm diagnosed?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The majority of brain aneurysms never cause health problems; because of that, many go undiagnosed. Brain aneurysms typically are discovered only after a rupture, when the unruptured aneurysm is causing head pain, or when someone is undergoing tests for another condition. There are four main tests that can detect a brain aneurysm.

  • Angiography (also referred to as a cerebral angiogram) is a test in which dye is injected in the body. As the dye travels through veins and arteries, x-rays are taken and analyzed to determine the site of the aneurysm.
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan provides a detailed x-ray of the head that shows images of the brain and skull layer by layer.
  • A Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another way to capture an image of the brain in detail.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis is a test in which fluid is extracted from the space between the spinal cord and surrounding membrane and is tested for signs of bleeding or hemorrhage.

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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.