Dr. Ulm and Dr. Mericle have extensive experience treating cerebral aneurysms and the complications that can arise when aneurysms rupture. Dr. Mericle served as head of cerebrovascular neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University for eight years where he performed more aneurysm treatments than any other neurosurgeon within the department.

Dr. Ulm built an endovascular neurosurgery service at the Medical Center of Central Georgia and was the only dual trained vascular neurosurgeon in New Orleans during his tenure at LSU. They are experts who have been sought out by other neurosurgeons to provide training in aneurysm treatment. They have been invited speakers at National and International conferences on aneurysm treatment and have published papers and book chapters on the origin, natural history, treatment and complications related to cerebral aneurysms.

A cerebral aneurysm arises from a weak spot in the wall of an artery in the brain which leads to a balloon-like out pouching or sac. Cerebral aneurysms occur more commonly in women than men, and occur mainly in adults, and are rare in children.

Symptoms

A small, unchanging aneurysm may produce no symptoms. However, aneurysms are at risk for rupturing and causing bleeding in the brain. When an aneurysm ruptures, the patient may experience a sudden and usually severe headache (“worst headache of my life”), nausea, vision impairment, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Onset is usually sudden and without warning.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a cerebral aneurysm is usually by CT angiogram, MR angiogram, and sometimes a catheter cerebral angiogram. If an aneurysm is suspected of rupturing, a head CT scan can diagnose the blood. A lumbar puncture may be necessary to confirm the suspicion of blood from an aneurysm rupture.

Treatment

Ruptured aneurysms are a medical emergency. Early surgery or endovascular coiling is mandatory to prevent further bleeding and death. Patients with ruptured aneurysms can be expected to remain in the hospital for several weeks.

The treatment of unruptured aneurysms is based on each patient’s unique attributes. Treatments include open surgical clipping, endovascular minimally invasive coiling, stenting and the placement of liquid embolic agents through microcatheters. Dr. Mericle and Dr. Ulm are experts in all aspects of aneurysm treatment.

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