What is a cerebral aneurysm?
A cerebral aneurysm is a blister or weakness in the wall of a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain. The blister balloons out and becomes a pouch with thin walls within which blood flows, leading to two problems.
One is that the thin walls give out or burst and blood exits the aneurysm into the brain or spinal fluid spaces called the subarachnoid space, hence the name subarachnoid bleed or hemorrhage. The second and less likely problem is that the aneurysm gets bigger and compresses an important nerve or part of the brain causing new symptoms.
Cerebral aneurysms and medical negligence
Medical negligence cases can arise when there is a failure to diagnose a burst cerebral aneurysm, a failure to treat the burst aneurysm properly or in a timely fashion, or a failure to identify and treat a complication of the burst or expanding aneurysm.
The most important part of recognizing that a cerebral aneurysm may be present is for the doctors and nurses to take a good history and to order an appropriate imaging test. Failure to do this will lead to a failure to diagnose a recently ruptured or expanding aneurysm, negligence that exposes the patient to a high level of risk of bleeding. Ruptured cerebral aneurysms are dangerous and they can cause brain injury or death. The goal in aneurysm treatment is to seal off the site of the bleed by open surgery or by endovascular surgery to prevent another bleed and then to treat the patient for the bleed that has already occurred. A number of case studies will be presented on this topic.