MIRI: Borneo Medical Centre (BMC) Sibu has noted worrying incidences of brain aneurysms over an 18-month period from January 2017 to June 2018.
BMC Miri resident consultant neurosurgeon Dr Adrian Ng Wei Chih said there is no concrete data for Sarawak on brain aneurysms at present, but the hospital followed operated aneurysm cases in Sibu during that period.
“A total of 58 patients had their aneurysm clipped, mostly female (75 per cent) aged between 22 and 77 years old, and 42 per cent had co-morbid hypertension.
“BMC had also attended to the youngest patient – an 18-year-old student – having aneurysm clipped and with the currently lifestyle, more and more young people too have diabetes, hypertension, and heart attacks,” he said when presenting the talk ‘Brain Aneurysm – The Ticking Time Bomb’ on Thursday.
He advocated a screening programme to pick up aneurysms before they rupture.
“Not to say that it is a necessity but it is available for those people with family history of aneurysm, the parents and siblings having aneurysm, we advise them to come for screening and they might have similar aneurysms in the family,” he explained.
A brain aneurysm is a bulging, weak area in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
Persons at risk include those who have previously had an aneurysm, high blood pressure, diabetes, smokers, as well as users of drugs like cocaine, with women more likely to develop a brain aneurysm or to suffer a subarachnoid haemorrhage.
“Brain aneurysm is a very life threatening condition to have and when it ruptures, most of the time it bleeds without warning. So when it bleeds there is a lot of blood inside the brain and the pressure is very much and most of the time the patients die instantaneously.
“The death rate or mortality rate is 60 per cent when it first bleeds, the other one third admitted to hospital, and even though we might be able to do the surgery, two thirds of them have permanent deficits or disabilities. See the magnitude when it ruptures is about saving the person’s life, leaving the rest, and hoping they can recover,” said Dr Ng.
Most brain aneurysms show no symptoms and may only be incidentally detected.
Symptoms usually arise after it ruptures, causing bleeding inside the brain (haemorrhagic stroke).
Among the symptoms are a sudden severe headache; weakness or paralysis of an arm, face, or leg; trouble speaking or understanding language; severe neck pain; persistent nausea and vomiting; fainting or loss of consciousness; and seizures.