Diagnosis and Potential Treatment in the Boston Area

I live in the Boston area, and have been experiencing a number of symptoms of an un-ruptured aneurysm (which I became aware of thanks to this superb website) - bad headaches on one side, substantial nausea, elevated blood pressure, tingling in my hand,short term memory problems, emotional lability, etc.) and will be seeing my primary care doctor shortly. A friend of mine in the UK who is a physician suggested that I should definitely be checked, and will likely be given an MRI.

Because I know that things can move quickly in some regards after any diagnosis such as this, I wanted to, should indeed an aneurysm be suspected and I be referred, be sure I began in a “system” / institution, and with a physician that offered a high level of technical excellence, as well as compassion.

I know that both Mass General and Brigham and Womens have centers specializing in cerebro-vascular problems. Might anyone be kind enough to share their experience with either, or with otherphysicians/centers in the area. I know that compassion, communication and technical excellence is not easy to find in one place/person - especially for someone like myself that has 4,642 questions, and prefers a mutually communicative partnership approach between physician and patient.

I am grateful for this wonderful site, and for any assistance members of this forum might be able to provide.

Hi Marc,
Welcome to the site, sorry you’re here, but know that you’re in the right place! You will find a great deal of support here!

PLEASE, since you haven’t had a rupture, take you’re time and be sure you’re comfortable with whom ever you choose. Be sure the treatment prescribed is the right treatment for you. Do not jump at clipping or coiling. Seek opinions of two neurosurgeons (and be sure THEY will be doing the surgery themselves, and not a medical student) and two neurointerventional radiologist (again, be sure the doctor you choose, not a med student will be doing the procedure). Clipping is NOT always permanent. I have three aneurysm friends who have ended up with residual aneurysms right next to their clips. Coiling isn’t always permanent either, and more coils may be needed. There are pros and cons to both treatments. Some areas of the brain cannot be coiled and some areas of the brain cannot be clipped, so as in real estate, location is everything! The size of an aneurysm, as well as the neck size are also important.

Please feel free to drive up to Concord NH on November 20th @ 1:00PM and meet with the Northern New England Aneurysm Support Group and ask all of our members opinions in person. Several of our members have been treated by Dr. Ogilvy at Mass General, and one member was treated by someone at Brigham and Women’s. I was treated by Dr. Ajay Wakhloo (neurointerventional radiologist) and Dr. Eddie Kwan (neurointerventional radiologist) at UMASS Worchester. I HIGHLY recommend them both and Dr. Wakhloo has to be the most open, compassionate and caring doctor I have ever met! He’s WONDERFUL! If you would like more info about our support group, or UMASS, please email me. Perhaps there’s another in-person aneurysm support group near you that you could go in and ask all your questions to. Look under support groups on this site.

I hope all goes well with your diagnosis. Please keep us up to date about what your choices are.

You need to immediately see your own physician or neurologist or Emergency Room and be screened by MRA to determine if what you have is in fact a brain aneurysm. Please feel free to contact us at The Brain Aneurysm Foundation for more information or referrals. Get to a doctor ASAP!

Hi JulieNH,

My wife collapsed from a ruptured aneurysm on Jan 22 of this year. She spent 4 weeks in ICU, had 3 vasospasms, and stroke on the left side causing paralysis on her right side. She was at UMass and Dr. Kwan did the coiling and Dr. Wakhloo has done 4 Angios on her including the 6 month checkup. You are right,Dr. Wakhloo is fantastic and a great guy. We were lucky in that the ICU team is truly gifted.

She has been in intensive PT, OT and ST since March. She has come a long

way from not being able to read, write, speak, eat, walk or talk. Her

progress so far is nothing short of miraculous. Her 6 month angiogram looked great. Her right leg is back to nearly 100%. Her right arm is doing better but her right hand and

fingers, while starting to move, are far from functional. Her reading

and writing skills are improving but very slowly. As far as she has

come, she still has far to go. We don’t know how far back she will come but if her progress so far is any indication she might make a strong recovery. We don’t worry about the outcome, but focus on each day,step by step.

Small world



It is a small world! I was initially treated by Dr. Kwan in Portland, Maine. His coiling has been complete and I have NEVER had to have additional coils. He also treated another of my aneurysm friends 3 months later, and her coiling totally occluded her aneurysm as well. He does wonderful work!

When it was time to have my one year follow up, Dr. Kwan had left Portland and was taking some time off, so I asked for recommendations on the BrainTalk site (http://braintalkcommunities.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=85 ) and happily found Dr. Wakhloo. He spent over an hour with me going over my MRI/MRA with me, answering all of my questions. He did my last angio, and he was great explaining what was going on. He is a wonderful caring man! I was blessed to find both Dr. Kwan and Dr. Wakhloo!

I had a rupture, a re rupture, and a stroke ( my stroke affected my speech, memory, and executive functions) four years ago. The brain is a miraculous thing! It is elastic, and capable making new connections within the brain. I have almost all my abilities back, so be patient. Time and sleep are wonderful brain healers. It’s only been nine months for your wife, and she will get better over time. I saw a HUGE difference in myself after 14-15 months. Please remember that your wife’s brain is still very swollen, and it will take time for the swelling to go down. Take the time to read the post “A Letter from Your Brain” . http://www.bafoundsupport.org/forum/topics/a-letter-from-your-brain

Also take the time to read the articles attached to posting “Following a Rupture…” (http://www.bafoundsupport.org/forum/topics/following-a-rupture-please-get ). Print them out and bring them to your wife’s GP to get her tested. She may be deficient in some hormones which could be slowing her healing process. Many hormones produced in the brain are important to the formations of memory and thought, and the general health the patient.

I’m so glad your wife is progressing so well! She’s very blessed to have a caring and loving husband like you! I don’t know where I would have been without my husband and mother! Love is a powerful medicine! :slight_smile: