Health Headlines: Signs of a brain aneurysm

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:46 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - An AVM, more commonly known as an intracranial aneurysm, is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain. While they only form in less than 1% of the adult population, they can be deadly, especially since your only warning might be a bad headache.

A few months ago, Charles Hernandez was starting his day but says his head was killing him.

“I woke up with a severe headache on the right side.”

Charles started his drive to work and promptly slammed into a parked car.

“I saw it in front of me, but I couldn’t react, I couldn’t react.”

In the ER, he couldn’t even tell doctors what happened. But brain scans brought the story to light.

“The doctor said that I had three aneurysms with bleeding in the brain.”

Dr. Justin Mascitelli is a neurosurgeon with Baptist Health Systems in San Antonio, TX who operated on Charles and explains, “Well, he had an arterial venous malformation, which is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins inside the brain. And on the arteries that were feeding the malformation, they had developed aneurysms over time.”

Aneurysms are known for rupturing and causing instant death. Fortunately, Dr. Mascitelli says Charles’ were in an accessible place.

“His AVM was kind of on the top, in the back, and it was on the surface. We actually make an incision and use a microscope to go into the brain and actually remove the AVM.”

Charles recalled, “Next thing I know, they are bringing me back to my bed.”

He says there wasn’t a lot of after-effects and is thankful to have survived, "

“We looked at each other, my wife and I, and tears were rolling down. I think of the people that don’t survive or have other issues, so, I’m blessed.”

Doctors say a headache from an aneurysm will be probably the worst you’ve ever experienced. If you or a loved one ever has a headache like that, you should head to the ER right away as time is critical for treatment.