A variety of conditions can affect the brain and central nervous system, among them aneurysms, hydrocephalus, subdural and intradural hematoma (bleeding) in the brain, and tumors. Diagnostic exams include CT and/or MRI scans
, with treatment plans following.
Brain (cerebral) aneurysm
This occurs as an outpouching of a weakened blood vessel in the brain. If it bursts, brain damage or death may occur. An aneurysm may have no symptoms, or may cause nausea, vomiting and possible changes in mental status.
Depending on the aneurysm's size and symptoms, treatment options may include observation or procedures to prevent blood supply to the aneurysm, such as coil embolization, in which small metal coils are placed within the aneurysm; or surgical clipping to sever the blood supply.
Are either benign or malignant and detected most often after a patient develops symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizure, vision problems or trouble walking. A neurological exam is typically followed by a CT scan or MRI study. If a tumor is found, the patient is likely referred to a neurosurgeon for a biopsy and possible surgical removal.
Depending on the tumor type, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may follow. The Hospital of Central Connecticut offers the Novalis®
shaped-beam surgery system to treat brain tumors without incisions.
Hematoma (subdural and intradural)
This condition, marked by bleeding in the brain, is typically caused by trauma, and can also be triggered by uncontrolled blood pressure and certain medications (e.g., blood thinners). The illness may be sudden or gradual, with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, extremity weakness, and unstable walking. Diagnosis is confirmed from a CT scan and surgery conducted to remove excess blood, relieving pressure on the brain.
Occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blocked or burst blood vessel. Symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body); sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing; sudden dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Quick medical help is vital as early intervention helps minimize damage. Strokes are the number three cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.