Unruptured brain aneurysms, bulging areas in the brain’s blood vessels, can be dangerous -- even deadly -- if they leak or rupture. In the past, determining whether to observe the unruptured brain aneurysm or operate has mostly hinged on the aneurysm’s size and location. But that paints an incomplete picture, says David Hasan, MD, a Duke Health neurosurgeon and researcher who has been working for decades to improve brain aneurysm diagnosis and treatment. He and his colleagues at Duke are using sophisticated tools to help you determine the best next steps.
Here are some of the innovative ways Duke uncovers information about your unruptured brain aneurysm and how to treat it.
Kat Williams loved performing, volunteering, and spending time with her loved ones, but kidney failure was getting in her way. Dialysis kept her alive, but she was constantly tired and sick and didn’t want to depend on it to survive. Thanks to a life-saving donation from a fellow church member and kidney transplant surgery at Duke, Williams is back to the active life she yearned for and is grateful for a second chance.
When David Wilkie of Smithfield was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in October 2021, he and his wife, Jessica, didn’t know how they were going to tell their children. “You know they’re going to be scared,” David, 53, said. “Hell, we were scared.” Shortly after his diagnosis, Hannah Sasser, a certified child life specialist with the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, reached out. She helped Maxwell, 9, and Eva, 8, understand what their mom and dad were going through. She also connected the family with KidsCan!, a monthly virtual support group for children whose parents have cancer.
“It made it a whole lot easier to talk to the kids about what’s going on,” Jessica said. “The people facilitating KidsCan! are doing a great job answering their questions. It takes a lot of pressure off us.”