We’re going to take a break today and move from covering athletes so that we can cover someone who covers them, Peter Gammons. Peter Gammons is the premiere baseball analyst in the business. Working for ESPN, Peter has been a figure of analysis, commentary and information for years. On June 27, 2006 Peter Gammons suffered a brain aneurysm.
A brain aneurysm is a bulging or ballooning of one of the arteries in your brain. There are two types of brain aneurysms: unruptured and ruptured. In an unruptured brain aneurysm the bulge has not burst. In a ruptured brain aneurysm the bulge bursts. We’re going to talk about unruptured brain aneurysms and their treatment, because only 20% of patients that suffer a ruptured brain aneurysm live without complications.
What are the symptoms of a brain aneurysm? In some cases there will be no symptoms if the brain aneurysm hasn’t burst or is leaking slowly. In fact, it is thought that one in fifteen people have a brain aneurysm and do not know it. For those who have symptoms and their brain aneurysm has not burst, these are the most common: speech problems, memory loss, coordination loss, poor peripheral vision and behavioral changes.
If you suffer s ruptured brain aneurysm you may have the following symptoms: nausea, sudden headache, seizure, vision problems and loss of feeling.
How do you know if you have a brain aneurysm? There are a number of tests to show if you have a brain aneurysm. MRI, x-ray angiography and CT Scan are primarily used to diagnosis a brain aneurysm.
What is the treatment for a brain aneurysm? An unruptured brain aneurysm is treated one of two ways. The first way is called clipping and involves literally clipping off the affected artery during brain surgery. The brain aneurysm is then cut and the artery fixed. The second method is called coil embolization and is a minimally invasive procedure. A catheter is inserted into the artery and platinum coils are inserted. The coils hopefully block the blood flow through the brain aneurysm.
What is the recovery time for a brain aneurysm? This is very hard to judge. Pete Gammons is being cared for at one of the better hospitals in the world, Brigham Young Women’s Hospital, and even they can’t tell. If the brain aneurysm has not burst then the recovery time is limited to the healing needed for the brain surgery, which is 2-3 weeks. If the brain aneurysm ruptures then there is a very high mortality rate even with treatment. Statistics vary, but people suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm have a 10-20% chance of living without complications. There are statistics showing the mortality rate as high as 85%.
On a personal note, my sister in law suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm during her sleep. There was no warning or symptoms prior to the rupture. She simply started shaking. She was at the hospital within 15 minutes of this happening, but she never regained consciousness. She died to a brain aneurysm at the age of 29.
Peter Gammons is extremely lucky to have survived.