Number of People Affected

  • An estimated 6.8 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people.
  • The annual rate of rupture is approximately 8 – 10 per 100,000 people.
  • About 30,000 people in the United States suffer a brain aneurysm rupture each year. A brain aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes.
  • There are almost 500,000 deaths worldwide each year caused by brain aneurysms, and half the victims are younger than 50.

Population Most Affected

  • Brain aneurysms are most prevalent in people ages 35 to 60, but can occur in children as well. Most aneurysms develop after the age of 40.
  • Women are more likely than men to have a brain aneurysm (3:2 ratio).
  • Women, particularly those over the age of 55, have a higher risk of brain aneurysm rupture than men (about 1.5 times the risk).
  • African-Americans and Hispanics are about twice as likely to have a brain aneurysm rupture compared to caucasians.

Devastation Caused by Aneurysms

  • Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 50% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.
  • Approximately 15% of people with a ruptured aneurysm die before reaching the hospital. Most of the deaths are due to rapid and massive brain injury from the initial bleeding.
  • According to a 2004 study, in the United States, the combined lost wages of survivors of brain aneurysm rupture and their caretaker for one year were $150 million.

Diagnosis and Treatment Facts

  • Most aneurysms are small — about 1/8 inch to nearly one inch.
  • 20% of people diagnosed with a brain aneurysm have more than one aneurysm.
  • Aneurysms larger than one inch are referred to as “giant” aneurysms. These can pose a particularly high risk and can also be difficult to treat.
  • Ruptured brain aneurysms account for 3-5% of all new strokes.
  • Among patients evaluated in an emergency department for headaches, approximately one in 100 has a ruptured aneurysm, according to one study. Another study puts the number at four in 100.
  • Accurate early diagnosis of a ruptured brain aneurysm is critical, as the initial hemorrhage may be fatal or result in devastating neurologic outcomes.

Misdiagnosis and Associated Costs

  • Despite the widespread availability of brain imaging that can detect a ruptured brain aneurysm, misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis occur in up to one quarter of patients when initially seeking medical attention. In three out of four cases, misdiagnosis results from a failure to do a scan.
  • The treatment of ruptured brain aneurysms is far more costly than the treatment of unruptured aneurysms: The cost of a brain aneurysm treated by surgical clipping more than doubles after the aneurysm has ruptured. The cost of a brain aneurysm treated by endovascular coiling increases by about 70% after the aneurysm has ruptured.
  • The federal government spends only $2.08 per year on brain aneurysm research for each person afflicted.