Johns Hopkins estimates that 2% of people have one or more brain aneurysms. Most aneurysms declare themselves by bleeding in adults between the ages of 45 to 65 years. Children, however, can also present with aneurysms. 2-3% of patients with aneurysms that we treat at Johns Hopkins are children. We attempt whenever possible to identify and eliminate aneurysms before they bleed.
The type of diagnostic testing performed depends on the location of the aneurysm. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for an aneurysm may include any, or a combination, of the following:
- computed tomography angiography scan (also called a CTA scan) – a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than standard x-rays.
- magnetic resonance imaging and angiography (MRI/MRA) – a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
- arteriogram (angiogram) – an x-ray image of the blood vessels used to evaluate various conditions, such as aneurysm, stenosis (narrowing of the blood vessel), or blockages. A dye (contrast) will be injected through a thin flexible tube placed in an artery. This dye will make the blood vessels visible on the x-ray.
Learn more about diagnosing an unruptured aneurysm.