Bigger brain aneurysms not more likely to burst

iStock

The size of a brain aneurysm does not play a major role in its risk of bursting, a new study finds.

A brain aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel in the brain weakens and balloons out. If it bursts, it causes a bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke that typically results in brain damage or death.

Finnish researchers analysed data from aneurysm patients who were followed for their entire lives, and found that about one-third of all aneurysms burst, including about one-quarter of small aneurysms.

Low risk of rupture

The size of the aneurysm had little effect on its risk for rupture, particularly among men. Rupture risk was particularly high among women who smoked and had aneurysms that were 7 millimetres (mm) or more in diameter. The risk of rupture was exceptionally low among men who didn't smoke.

"This is not to say that aneurysms in non-smoking men never rupture, but that the risk is much lower than we previously thought. This means treating every unruptured aneurysm may be unnecessary if one is discovered in a non-smoking man with low blood pressure," study author Dr Seppo Juvela said in a University of Helsinki news release.

Previous short-term studies have concluded that the size of an aneurysm is the most important risk factor for rupture. This has led to small (less than 7 mm in diameter) aneurysms often being left untreated.

The study findings were published online in the journal Stroke.

Read more:
New clues to brain aneurysm
Early menopause ups brain aneurysm risk

Fruit-rich diet good for the brain

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
33% - 9364 votes
No
67% - 19337 votes
Vote