A sudden, severe headache is the key symptom of a ruptured aneurysm. This headache is often described as the "worst headache" ever experienced. Common signs and symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include:

  • Sudden, extremely severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizure
  • A drooping eyelid
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion

'Leaking' aneurysm

In some cases, an aneurysm may leak a slight amount of blood. This leaking (sentinel bleed) may cause only a:

  • Sudden, extremely severe headache

A more severe rupture almost always follows leaking.

Unruptured aneurysm

An unruptured brain aneurysm may produce no symptoms, particularly if it's small. However, a large unruptured aneurysm may press on brain tissues and nerves, possibly causing:

  • Pain above and behind an eye
  • A dilated pupil
  • Change in vision or double vision
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of one side of the face
  • A drooping eyelid

When to see a doctor

A ruptured aneurysm is a medical emergency. In about 30 percent of cases, ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal

Seek immediate medical attention if you develop a:

  • Sudden, extremely severe headache

If you're with someone who complains of a sudden, severe headache or who loses consciousness or has a seizure, call 911 or your local emergency number.

May. 24, 2011