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Specialized care by experienced teams cuts death and disability from bleeding brain aneurysms
Date:5/17/2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. People with bleeding brain aneurysms have the best chance of survival and full recovery if they receive aggressive emergency treatment from a specialized team at a hospital that treats a large number of patients like them every year, according to new guidelines just published by the American Stroke Association.

Diagnosing and immediately treating this kind of "bleeding stroke", and using advanced techniques to prevent re-bleeding and aneurysm recurrence, reduces the chance of immediate death and disability by 30 percent for patients with aneurysm-related subarachnoid hemorrhages (aSAH), according to the newly published guidelines.

What's more, this kind of evidence-based treatment means better long-term survival and quality of life for survivors, say the guideline's authors, who include University of Michigan neurosurgeon B. Gregory Thompson, M.D. The guideline is published online in the journal Stroke.

In a subarachnoid hemorrhage, blood collects on the surface of the brain after leaking from an aneurysm, or a weak spot in a brain blood vessel. About 5 percent of all strokes are caused by aSAH, which can occur at any time in any of the millions of Americans who have brain aneurysms.

Many people who suffer an aSAH have no idea they have an aneurysm. Their first sign is a severe headache "the worst headache of their life" as many describe it -- that comes on suddenly and doesn't fade away for hours if at all. The condition is often misdiagnosed.

The guidelines emphasize the importance of getting such patients diagnosed quickly and transporting them immediately to a hospital that treats more than 35 aSAH patients in a year, which typically have a multi-specialty team available to quickly assess and treat each patient.

"The take-home message for physicians and patients is that admission to specialized high volume centers is associated with lower rates of death and disability," sa
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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