Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones most likely had no warning signs that she was about to suffer an aneurysm, a leading surgeon told FOXNews.com.
Tubbs Jones, 58, the first black woman from Ohio to become a member of Congress, died Wednesday after suffering an aneurysm while driving her car in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Dr. Michael Marin, chief of surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said there typically are no warning signs before a person suffers an aneurysm, especially if the patient is in good health.
“Most likely, if she was in good health, she didn’t know about this,” Marin said in an interview.
Brain aneurysms are similar to other types of aneurysms in that they are caused by enlargements of normal arteries, Marin said.
If an artery has a bulge on its surface, due to genetics or a medical condition such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and the artery wall becomes stretched, it can rupture.
The two most common aneurysms occur in the brain and in the aorta, Marin said.
If it occurs in the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body, the victim will die instantly.
If the aneurysm occurs in the brain, as it did for Jones, it can cause severe damage, such as loss of circulation to a part of the brain or compression of the brain by leakage of blood inside the head.
“Before (an aneurysm), they develop a terrible headache, not the kind we have during a bad day or when we need a cup of coffee,” Marin said. “The kind you have never had before in your life.”
What is a brain aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is the ballooning-out of the wall of an artery in the brain. The wall may have been previously weakened by disease, injury or an abnormality present at birth. Aneurysms also may be caused or made worse by high blood pressure and can lead to strokes. They are deadly if they burst.
How is an aneurysm detected?
An aneurysm in the brain may cause a severe headache and impaired vision. A smaller aneurysm may have no symptoms. One can be detected using imaging techniques such as an X-ray angiography, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT scan (computed tomography).
How is an aneurysm treated?
Aneurysms are usually treated with surgery. The most common type of surgery involves securing a metal clip around the base of the aneurysm. Another type of treatment involves “packing” the aneurysm with small, flexible wire coils. These are inserted into the aneurysm using a catheter.