Aneurysm recovery primarily depends on whether the aneurysm has burst. If the aneurysm has not burst, treatment may consist of observation or elective surgical repair. If surgical repair is done, recovery is quicker than if the aneurysm has burst, but carries the risk of post-operative symptoms inherent in all surgical procedures, like infection and swelling, which can affect recovery time. If the aneurysm has burst, aneurysm recovery depends on a variety of factors, like the type and location of the aneurysm, amount of bleeding, and other medical conditions. The age and health of the patient and length of time between the rupture and when medical care was administered also play a role in the chance of recovery.
An aneurysm is a weakened area of a blood vessel in which blood pressure causes the weakened area to inflate like a balloon. There are three basic types of aneurysm classified by location: aortic aneurysm, cerebral aneurysm, and peripheral aneurysm. Aneurysms most commonly occur in the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel running through the heart, and are commonly associated with high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Most aortic aneurysms occur in the part of the aorta running through the abdomen, in which case they are known as abdominal aortic aneurysms. But 25 percent occur in the upper part of the aorta and are known as thoracic aortic aneurysms. Abdominal aortic aneurysms carry a higher risk of bleeding than thoracic aortic aneurysms. Less than 40 percent of patients survive after an abdominal aneurysm ruptures due to severe bleeding. Patients who seek immediate medical attention fare better than patients who delay treatment, because hemorrhaging may be minimized with prompt medical treatment.
In aortic aneurysm patients, recovery may depend on underlying conditions that may have contributed to the development of the aneurysm. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels will need to be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. If blood pressure and cholesterol levels are brought under control, the chance of recurrence is much lower.
Peripheral aneurysms may occur in areas of the body other than the aorta and brain. They commonly occur in the carotid artery, leg, or spleen. Rupture is less common from this type of aneurysm than with aortic or cerebral. More commonly, peripheral aneurysms may cause blockages that may require medication, a stent graft, or bypass surgery.
A cerebral or brain aneurysm usually does not cause symptoms until it is very large or ruptures, causing stroke, coma, or death. As an aneurysm rupture in the brain may cause a life-threatening emergency situation, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible as this can affect chances of aneurysm recovery. About 25 percent of patients will not survive the first 24 hours after a brain aneurysm, and another 25 percent of cerebral aneurysm patients die within three months.
After a successful surgical repair of any type of aneurysm, the prognosis for aneurysm recovery is usually very good. Patients who have had a brain aneurysm repair may be in intensive care for a week or longer and require monitoring after leaving the hospital. Other aneurysm repair patients may stay in the hospital for 10 days. Aneurysm recovery is better for patients who had mild symptoms.