Should you be screened for an aneurysm?

1 in 50 may seem like small odds. However, when that 1 in 50 could be a family member — or you — would you want to know the risk? Research has confirmed many of the major risk factors for developing a brain aneurysm, a balloon-like bulge of an artery wall, which can rupture and bleed. Most aneurysms are not hereditary. But certain genetic conditions and family history may apply to someone you love.


  • You have 2 or more immediate family members (parents, siblings, children) with a brain aneurysm.
  • You have polycystic kidney disease and 1 or more immediate family members with a brain aneurysm. 


  • You have 1 or more immediate family members with a brain aneurysm and at least 1 of the gender/lifestyle risks.
  • You have polycystic kidney disease and at least 1 of the gender/lifestyle risks. 


You are a woman over 40 with at least 1 of these risks:

  • You smoke or use nicotine
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You consume more than 12 alcoholic drinks a week
  • You use cocaine
Download our Family Guide to Brain Aneurysm Risks and Screening

A brain scan with MRI angiography is strongly advised for anyone who has two immediate family members who have an aneurysm.

Most aneurysms are silent, meaning they have no symptoms until they rupture. It is impossible to predict if and when an aneurysm may burst open, but when it does, it can be fatal 40% of the time. On the other hand, many people die of old age with an aneurysm, but not because of it.

The risk of rupture increases if you are a woman, you smoke, have high blood pressure, drink alcohol excessively, or use recreational drugs. These risks are controllable with the right help!

If you do have an aneurysm, Mayfield, or your neurosurgery provider of choice, can help you understand your individual risk of rupture, counsel you on reducing your risks, and provide treatment if needed.

MRA of brain arteries

Mayfield Neurovascular Care

This health risk tool is provided by Mayfield Brain & Spine as an educational service only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment. It must not be taken to be the provision or practice of medical, nursing or professional health care advice or services in any jurisdiction. Consult your physician or other health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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