Brain aneurysm is potentially the most serious complication of Polycystic Kidney Disease. Approximately 10%~15% of people with adult PKD have a cerebral aneurysm in the area of the cerebral blood vessels. This condition increases with age in patients with the kidney disease. Continue reading to learn more about this complication.
An aneurysm refers to the section of an artery that has enlarged or
"ballooned out." A brain aneurysm develops as there is a weakness in the wall of
that artery. The weakness is either there at birth or it developed. People with
PKD are at a higher risk for developing this condition.
Since often these aneurysms are asymptomatic until they rupture, causing
severe neurologic problems as well as possibly being fatal. Due to their
weakened walls, brain aneurysms can acutely rupture, causing massive hemorrhage
that may lead to death.The presence of associated high blood pressure from PKD
increases the likelihood of aneurysm rupture, as does a prior family history of
CT (computerized tomography). This can be ordered when patients experience an
acute onset of the worst headache of the patient's life associated with a stiff
neck and an ill-appearing patient on physical examination. More than 90% of
cases will show a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
LP (lumbar puncture). It is done in few cases when a CT fail to recognized
Angiography. This is performed to identify the location of aneurysm and to
plan treatment. New technology allows angiography to be done in association with
CT or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
Brain aneurysms are deadly. About 10% of patient with a ruptured aneurysm die
before receiving medical care. Untreated, 50% will die within a month, with 25%
sustaining another bleeding episode in a week. Moreover, there is significant
risk of artery spasm leading to stroke.