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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Am I at an increased risk of future anuerysms?


 peachygirl - Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:54 am

I am a 55 year old female with a history of smoking (I quit cold turkey 02/07/06). I have had high blood pressure for the past 6+ years, controlled by Metoprolol
50mg twice per day and also take 1 Aspirin 325mg per day. I have a family history of high blood pressure, stroke, heart problems, and various kinds of cancers.

During the summer of 2005, I went blind for a few moments in my left eye. Consequent followup xrays of my head revealed no bleeding and a followup of my arteries in my neck, revealed less than a 10% blockage.
On 01/09/06, I had a brain hemmorage, that went undiagnosed for 1 month (have medical records to prove this). On 02/07/06, I was admitted to a large hospital by neurosurgery. I was informed that I had a
large anuerysm on my brain stem complicated by a blood vessel coming off of the anuerysm (that wasn't supposed to be there - didn't make me any smarter, I asked LOL). I was informed that this was the most complicated case ever seen at this very large hospital and by this very large neurosurgery staff. I was informed that I had less than a 10% chance of pulling through surgery. They decided to do a partial coiling with a balloon to keep all blood vessels open on 02/14/06.

On 04/23/08, I found out that my anuerysm had come back three times bigger than it was in 2006. This time they installed a clip, since the anuerysm had developed differently than the first time.

On 09/18/08, after my angiogram, I found out that the anuerysm was gone, all that could be seen was the clip and coils. I was told that I could go do whatever I wanted.

I own my company that does kitchen remodeling. This means that I must be able to load heavy cabinets in a trailer for delivery, unload them usually carry up steps
and twisting (etc.) to get them into the customer's home, be able to carry heavy countertops, etc. Plus be able to use hand tools that seriously vibrate and drive 3000 to 5000 per week every week.

My question is this:

Am I at increased risk for future anuerysms?

Thanks so much

Peachygirl

P.S. I was never asked by any doctor what I did to make my living.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:10 pm

User avatar Hi there -

Your story is a pretty remarkable one, and the original aneurism was undoubtedly present from birth, since it had produced its own secondary artery. The fact that it "came back" suggests there was a larger weakened area behind the original site. The second surgery sounds as though it was more sophisticated (and would have had to be I suppose). All in all it is an amazing story, and while that extra artery may not have made you any smarter, is surely didn't take anything away, either.

As for your serious question about future risk, there is, by definition, always a statistically greater risk of a future aneurysm when there has already been one. However, if the problem has been assessed and corrected well, that risk figure comes down significantly. That being said, your risk is statistically somewhere between, say, 1 and 50 per cent. One way to keep that risk toward the low end (and it is amazing you weren't ever asked about how you earn your livelihood), is going to be by avoiding straining, heavy lifting, and anything else that causes temporary increases in intracranial pressure or raised the blood pressure. Any sort of straining puts even a healthy person at a momentarily increased risk of something untoward happening inside the skull. Since you have a significant history, I would suggest you might well reduce your risk to the negligible level if you are able to avoid heavy lifting and straining. Unfortunately, it sounds as though your work requires a certain amount of this. While the power tool vibrations shouldn't make any difference, and sharing the carrying of kitchen cabinets may even be safe to a limited degree, countertops have (as I'm sure you are all too aware) an often tremendous specific gravity and can be extremely awkward to handle, while still having to be lifted and moved (I've done this a time or two and have sworn I'll never do it again).

It would be very much in your interest to try and make some sort of arrangement for extra help, even if it cuts into your profit margin, for the purpose of loading, unloading and, especially, positioning these very heavy items. The increased pressure inside your head just isn't worth the risk, given your very remarkable history and your incredibly close call.

I hope this is helpful you you. Best of luck, and please follow up with us as needed.
 peachygirl - Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:13 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I had a feeling
that this was probably the case.
I still have alot of neck pain (both sides of the
my neck), my balance is not great, sometimes my left eye aches unbearably, I get headaches real bad now, my left ear is numb and I lost my hearing in that ear,
I can't read for any length of time (my concentration is gone), plus a few other
problems. But I'm here to complain about them and the beats the other option. LOL
I know some of these things should get better with time (my surgery was 06/03/08), so I just keep looking forward to that time.
So thanks so much again and God Bless
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:52 pm

User avatar You are very welcome. I'm glad you're taking a philosophical approach to this, and yes, with time a lot of this should improve a great deal. The best news of all is that you are still here to tell us about it! That's by far the best part of the deal, and things really should get better still. We look forward to hearing about your progress.

Take good care of yourself. You're an inspiration to a lot of us.

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