University of São Paulo: Prevention of brain aneurysms is little known by the population


Cerebral aneurysms are small dilatations in the walls of the arteries that supply the brain and, in most cases, they are asymptomatic. But when they rupture, they cause bleeding in the brain and, therefore, are a type of Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA). Stroke is a general classification for all diseases that alter the arteries or veins in the brain. Aneurysm is a rare disease, however, the mortality rate is 50% when there is a rupture. Because it is not a common disease, prevention methods and even the characteristics of people prone to developing it are not very widespread. For this reason, neurosurgeon Saul Almeida da Silva, from Hospital das Clínicas, Faculty of Medicine, USP, comments on the matter.

Group of risk

People more prone to the formation and/or rupture of aneurysms have some risk factor such as: smoking, use of illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, high blood pressure and relatives who suffer or have suffered from the disease.

In addition, Saul Silva points out: “The main age group affected by aneurysms is 50 years old, the proportion of women to men is about two women for every man, that is, more common among women”.

There is a connection between aneurysm formation and the functioning of female hormones, especially in menopause. The correlation is evident when comparing the number of women with aneurysms with that of men.

the prevention
Due to medical guidelines, investigation of a possible aneurysm is only indicated when there is a hereditary factor involved, especially in a scenario where there are first-degree relatives with the disease. “The sooner [the aneurysm] is detected, the greater the chance that this patient will do well”, comments Silva.

To monitor possible cases of the disease, monitoring is done through magnetic resonance angiography, an imaging test that allows non-invasive evaluation of blood vessels. The aneurysm can be treated endovascularly, through embolization, a minimally invasive treatment, or openly, through neurosurgery. Both treatments and detection tests are available in the Unified Health System (SUS).

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