Brain Aneurysm Symptoms & Causes

The neurologists and neurosurgeons at the Brain Aneurysm Center at Cushing Neuroscience Institute (CNI) within North Shore-LIJ Health System offer leading-edge expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide spectrum of neurological conditions such as ruptured and nonruptured aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and carotid artery dissection.

The Brain Aneurysm Center treats the following conditions:

  • Arteriovenous fistula the abnormal flow of blood from the artery to the vein
  • Brain hemorrhage – Also known as a cerebral hemorrhage, this is bleeding in the brain caused by the rupture of a blood vessel within the head.
  • Carotid artery dissection – The carotid arteries, located in the front of the neck, are the main supplier of blood to the brain. When the lining of the artery ruptures and breaks, blood leaks into the artery wall and may cause clotting within the artery.
  • Carotid artery stenosis – Stenosis of the carotid artery occurs when atherosclerotic plaques and fatty material build up on the inside of the artery wall and reduce blood flow to the brain.
  • Carotid body tumor – This vascular tumor, also known as a chemodectoma, originates from the external layer of the carotid artery and extends into the internal and external carotid arteries.
  • Carotid cavernous fistula – This condition develops when there is an abnormal connection between the carotid artery and the cavernous sinus vein located behind the eye.
  • Cavernous angioma – Also known as a cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), it is a collection of small blood vessels (capillaries) in the central nervous system (CNS) that is enlarged and irregular in structure and takes the shape of a characteristic honeycomb-like pattern. Cavernous angiomas can cause headaches, stroke, seizures, or neurological deficits. It may, however, have no symptoms at all.
  • Cerebral aneurysm – This is a cerebrovascular disorder which causes the dilation, bulging or ballooning of the wall of an artery in the brain. It typically will go undetected until it ruptures and causes a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  • Cerebral arteriovenous malformation – This condition is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels within the brain or spinal cord. An arteriovenous malformation AVM may cause either seizures or a hemorrhage. It will usually go undetected until the symptoms occur, unless an MRI or CT scan was performed for another reason such as trauma or unrelated headaches.
  • Cerebral hemorrhage – Also known as a cerebral hemorrhage, this is a type of stroke (hemorrhagic stroke) which occurs when a defective artery in the brain bursts, flooding the surrounding tissue with blood.
  • Dural arteriovenous fistula an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins of the dura mater (the membrane surrounding the brain) that causes gradual impairment.
  • Head and neck arteriovenous malformations defects of the circulatory system that are generally believed to arise during embryonic or fetal development or soon after birth.
  • Hemorrhage (subarachnoid)Bleeding in the subarachnoid space (the space between the brain and the membranes that cover the brain). Typically, a subarachnoid hemorrhage is the result of a ruptured aneurysm.
  • Moyamoya disease – This is a rare, progressive cerebrovascular disorder caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain in an area called the basal ganglia. The name "moyamoya" means "puff of smoke" in Japanese and describes the look of the tangle of tiny vessels formed to compensate for the blockage. Individuals with Moyamoya disease may have disturbed consciousness, speech deficits (usually aphasia), sensory and cognitive impairments, involuntary movements, and vision problems.
  • Mycotic aneurysm – This type of aneurysm results from an infection in the arterial wall which subsequently causes the wall to weaken and bulge outward.
  • Nonruptured cerebral aneurysm – This is the dilation, bulging, or ballooning out of part of the wall of an artery in the brain. A nonruptured cerebral aneurysm typically will go undetected until it ruptures and causes a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  • PseudoaneurysmAlso known as a false aneurysm, a pseudoaneurysm is the expansion or dilation of some of the arterial wall layers rather than all of them.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage – This is bleeding into the subarachnoid space (the space between the brain and the membranes that cover the brain)
  • Syncope – This is the temporary loss of consciousness due to a sudden decline in blood flow to the brain. Syncope may be caused by an irregular cardiac rate or rhythm or by changes of blood volume or distribution.
  • Vascular malformations  A few types of these lesions are known to be hereditary. Some evidence also suggests that at least some vascular malformations are acquired later in life as a result of injury to the central nervous system.
  • Vein of Galen malformation In arteriovenous malformations, the vein of Galen defect (named after the major blood vessel involved) is frequently associated with symptoms such as:
    • hydrocephalus (an accumulation of fluid within certain spaces in the brain)
    • swollen veins visible on the scalp,
    • seizures
    • failure to thrive, and
    • congestive heart failure.
    • Children born with this condition who survive past infancy often remain developmentally impaired.

Make an appointment at our Brain Aneurysm Center
Cushing Neuroscience Institute’s Brain Aneurysm Center makes it easy for you to take the first steps in ensuring the best neurological care for yourself or your family. Simply email us at or call us at (516) 562-3059 or 844-56Neuro (844-566-3876). You may also fill out our Request an Appointment form.