Bobbye Cohen lived with a small, unruptured brain aneurysm for years. It was discovered after she was checked for a heart health scare. Doctors kept an eye on it, which is common with small aneurysms. “We knew that if I ever said that I had the worst headache of my life, it was a 911 call,” Bobbye recalls.
After 9 years, that headache came. Her aneurysm, although still small, ruptured. Mike Cohen, Bobbye’s husband, recounts: “I got her to UVA Health, where they started treating her immediately.”
Aneurysms Can Lead to an Emergency
Luckily, a UVA Health team was able to quickly get Bobbye help. “She had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, and this was complicated by the fact that she also suffered a pretty significant cardiac injury,” says Ryan T. Kellogg, MD, a neurosurgeon and brain aneurysm specialist at UVA Health. Kellogg and his team helped Bobbye survive her aneurysm rupture. “When Bobbye initially arrived, she was neurologically very unstable. She was in a deep coma.”
What Is a Brain Aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel in the brain. As long as aneurysms stay small and don’t leak or break (called a rupture), they usually don’t cause any symptoms. You likely wouldn’t know you have an unruptured brain aneurysm until it’s found during a medical test for something else, like Bobbye did.
“Bobbye's is actually a pretty common scenario,” says Kellogg. “Monitoring small aneurysms is something we do frequently, because if they do start to change size or shape, then we start to have a more serious conversation about whether that should be treated.”
Surviving a Brain Aneurysm Rupture
Concerned About Brain Aneurysms?
If you think someone is having a brain aneurysm or stroke, call 911 right away. Talk to a UVA Health primary care doctor about your stroke or aneurysm risk.
Excellent video of Bobbye’s ordeal with the aneurysm! I know Bobbye from a women’s Bible study at First UMC. We were all praying for her during her hospital stay and so glad when she finally came home. Thank you for the explanation of treating aneurysms. Hearing Bobbye and Mike’s story really underscored how scary an aneurysm can be and the importance of getting to a hospital quickly. So thankful that UVA was able to successfully heal her.