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Pre-scan advice


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Hi,

This morning I have been reffered for a CT and CT Angiogram as my father and his sister died from an SAH. I have always been concerned about this as I have read the NHS advice on scanning, and two or more blood relatives having this puts me at greater risk of having one.

Is anyone in the same situation? What if they scan and find nothing? Do I continue to be scanned every 5 years or so? Also, what if the scan does uncover something? What is the experience of those people who have been coiled? What are the implications of having a coil put in, does this mean you are not allowed to drive in the UK? I drive for my job and this would have a major impact on me.

I did notice that some people are talking about MRI scans on these pages, what are the benefits / risks of each scan?

Any advice most appreciated.

Craig.

Edited by craigwhite
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Hi Craig and sorry to hear about the loss of your Father and his Sister.

I think there are a couple of guy's on here that have been scanned to check for aneurysms ....

I've had a ruptured aneurysm coiled, but still have a neck left on it, which was too small to coil at the time, so I'm still being monitored and my next MRA is in 2015. I also have an abnormal shaped artery on the opposite side of the brain, which or may not form into an aneurysm, so I'm hoping that they're keeping an eye on that one as well.

How old are you Craig? I'm not a medical expert, but would imagine that if the scan didn't show up anything abnormal, that they would probably send you away with a clean bill of health as such and not monitor, unless you were having head related problems at a future date? Medical procedure and monitoring seem to vary in a lot of hospitals.... it can tend to be a post code lottery, along with individual case history etc

As for driving after coiling, I'm not 100% sure you will have to check out the DVLA website, but think that there's only restrictions if you have the brain haemorrhage itself, along with the coiling or clipping. My late Mother in law just had the aneurysm coiling procedure itself (without the brain haem) and she was up and about a couple of days after. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/MedicalRulesForDrivers/MedicalA-Z/DG_185581

There are also a few guys on here that have had the SAH and have then had further unruptured aneurysms treated either by coiling or clipping, so hopefully they will chip in with some advice.

I must admit, that after going through a SAH, even though I don't enjoy the scanner experience, I would much rather know what's going on in my head and therefore if I needed further coiling, then I would have it done ....

Are you having any head problems at the minute or have you just decided that you would prefer to be checked out, given your family medical history?

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Hi Karen, Hi Louise,

Thanks for your replies, I've read a few posts from yourselves and others on the site, and it's great seeing all the support the forums provide. I felt a bit odd posting since I've not actually suffered from an SAH, but I'm curious about the scan and the many "what if's.."

My father passed away when I was 13, then my aunt (my fathers sister) passed away two years later. So after becoming a father myself, I decided to put off what I intended to do some time ago and see a Dr. I had read some time ago about my increased risk, but become more aware of it recently.

I'm 31, and my Consultant today said that if they scan and find nothing, the onus is on me to be scanned again in 5 years time. He was quite confident that this would be the case for me with my family history. Also if there was anything abnormal they would coil.

After I posted, I realised that it is those people who have had an SAH who in some cases need to surrender their licence, so I think this would not apply to me.

I do have migraines, but no other symptoms that my consultant thought would relate to anything else.

Thanks again, I'll post again with the outcome of my scan.

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Hi Craig,

Glad that you did post, as what you're going through, is probably what my two children (21 & 24yrs) will also face at some point in their life.... My daughter is thinking about screening before she considers starting a family in the future. It's a very difficult decision to have to make and lots of "what if's", so your experience and thoughts are very welcome on here!

Wishing you the very best of luck with your scan and hope it's good news .... let us know how you get on. xx

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Hello and welcome. I'm so sorry for your loss. As for me, well I had an SAH last year and my grandmother died from a haemorrhage - because of this family history, when my daughter started to complain of "surges" in her head our GP referred her to a neurologist for scanning. She has an appointment next week. The GP said if it weren't for the family history she wouldn't be worried by my daughter's symptoms, but she wants to rule out an aneurysm....

Apart from people on here, I know that Karren Brady from The Apprentice was found to have an aneurysm on routine scanning and she was coiled - it certainly doesn't seem to have done her any harm!!

Good luck with everything.

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I am surprised they would have you take a CT scan for someone who no symptoms. CT scans with contrast expose you to large amounts of radiation and harmful effects of the iodine contrast material.

Usually asympomatic people get MRI/MRA which wouldnt expose you to radiation and can be done without contrast.

If I were you I would opt for the MRI/MRA.

If you are an adult and your first scan comes up negative I wouldnt worry about ever developing an aneurysm or suffering a SAH.

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Hi Craig

Welcome to BTG.

I have a family link of SAHs. My paternal grandfather died from a SAH and I have two cousins who have had SAHs. They are half sisters, one survived but sadly my other cousin died in June 2009 from a SAH. Their mother suffers with polycystic kidney disease but she has no aneurysms and last year celebrated her 84th birthday! My father suffered from kidney disease and had a kidney removed in his 20s. Sadly he died at 65 from smoking related illness and was never scanned for aneurysms.

My cousin who survived her SAH lives in Canada and has one child, a daughter. The doctors there advised that she should be scanned and she had her first scan in 2008, 5 months after her mother's SAH. She was 39 and was given the all clear (she also smokes) and she has been told that she will be scanned every 5 years.

My other cousin who died has 4 siblings and 3 children. Her siblings have been advised to be scanned but so far only one brother has taken this oportunity and he also has been given the all clear. He is 56 and has been told that there is no need for him to have another scan.

I have 5 siblings and 3 children. My children have been advised to have a scan but they won't do this until they are 30. They are 24, 22 and 20. They want to be scanned (well that's how they feel at the moment) because they don't want to risk having a SAH they would rather if there is something there then have it treated. They are also aware that something could be found but wouldn't necessarily need to be treated. Only 1 of my sisters has been scanned. She was scanned last year by MRA and was given the all clear. She was 41 and has been told she needn't be scanned again. One of my other sisters who is 54 wants to be scanned and has been trying for the last 3 months to get her GP to refer her! She said she doesn't want to live with this nagging away at the back of her mind. My other siblings don't want to be scanned.

Having suffered a ruptured aneurysm and a subsequent stroke if I were in my sbilings shoes I would absoluteyl want to be scanned and if anything that was found that required treatment I would want it treated. From hearing from people on here who have had aneurysms treated before they rupture, the recovery seems to be a lot quicker.

This must be a very stressful time for you and such a big decision to have made. Well done you on making it. Be advised by your consultant on what he feels is the best scan for you to have, he's the expert and we are all different. If I were you I would concentrate on getting through this first and get the results. What ever decisions you have to make in the years to come can wait until then. Wishing you the very best, take care.

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Having suffered a ruptured aneurysm and a subsequent stroke if I were in my sbilings shoes I would absoluteyl want to be scanned and if anything that was found that required treatment I would want it treated. From hearing from people on here who have had aneurysms treated before they rupture, the recovery seems to be a lot quicker.

This must be a very stressful time for you and such a big decision to have made. Well done you on making it. Be advised by your consultant on what he feels is the best scan for you to have, he's the expert and we are all different. If I were you I would concentrate on getting through this first and get the results. What ever decisions you have to make in the years to come can wait until then. Wishing you the very best, take care.

I agree with you Liz .... good advice and I can only say that after going through a SAH and only recently discovering my own family history of SAH, I would have probably taken the opportunity of screening, if it had been offered to me.

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I agree with Liz too, In a way Im lucky that I have no kids and as far as Im aware there has been no-one in either side of my family thats had a haemorrhage....

Have to say I didnt think CT scanning was that bad:roll: I had a MRI with contrast dye...:oops:

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Hi there

Me neither Louise - I've had a CT scan and I'm perfectly OK - personally I'd rather be scanned any way they're prepared to scan to see if I had an anni. Some take years to grow and some not so many years so I think being scanned on a regular basis - even for peace of mind - is a good idea.

Talk to your specialist and ask them which is the preferred/best method and whether they think you should be scanned regularly if the results are clear - after all we can offer you advice from personal experience but we can't give you medical advise, so do what you think is best and talk to a professional - but I would be scanned if I had the family history to warrant it whether I was showing symptoms or not.

Good luck and let us know how you're getting on.

Take care of you

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I agree with everything Momo's doctor said! If my daughter wasn't having symptoms, we wouldn't be bothering with a scan. Even then, it's probably nothing and like momo said - what if you get the all clear and then an anni forms later? You never know!

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My consultant said that an intra-cranial bleed (of most types not caused by trauma) are completely asymptomatic. And having a history (as Momo said) of 2+ blood relatives does put you at a higher risk of suffering a bleed, so the reason I chose to be scanned is that I don't want to put my wife and son through a shock event like an SAH which I went through with my father. I would say the likely risk of complications from treating an un-ruptured aneurysm are less than the risk of suffering a bleed from a non-treated un-ruptured anuerysm, so it's the context.

I know that anuersyms can form at any time, but to know that the risk is there, and not scan because it might not be there but then occur in two years time is not an option for me. The reverse is true for me, what if I scan and something IS there. That way, I can decide what to do about it and take it out of fate's hands to some degree.

And lastly, I don't think the NHS would offer such a costly investigation without good reason, so that's my reasons for going ahead with it.

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Craig, it's very thoughtful and considerate of you to be so concerned about the shock to your family if you had a sudden SAH. It will put your mind at rest just knowing the situation. If they find nothing you can carry on and not think about it. If they find something you will feel in control of it as it is being dealt with. I imagine it would feel that way.

Good luck with your tests.

Sandi K.

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Hi Craig,

I completely agree with everything that you've said and if I'd had the opportunity of being scanned with the knowledge that I have now and having to live with the aftermath of a SAH on a day to day basis, both physically and psychologically and the impact it's had on my family, then it's a complete no-brainer for me and I would opt for having regular scans and then deal with the outcome if a situation arises .... at least you have some degree of control.

Most of us have no warning of the SAH ... I've always had migraines and headaches, but not much different probably than the next person .... trying to convince a Doctor that there is a problem, even when you are having the brain haemorrhage is probably why the mortality rate is so high ... there's not many people on here, that have been diagnosed at their first GP appointment ... it seems to be more common, that most are blue lighted into hospital and the delay in diagnosis can lead to quite devastating consequences.

I really wouldn't wish anybody to have to go through a SAH .... it's been my worse nightmare and even though I'm a positive person, the last 6-10 years have been something that I never want to have to re-visit and life can still be pretty testing on a day to day basis .... If a simple scan can stop another person experiencing the same as I have, then it's worth it!

Wishing you well .... xx

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Hi Craig,

I can only tell you my own experiences. My mothers sister was left severely disabled by a brain heamorrhage, as far as I know, I am the only other family member to suffer SAH. I had mine at 38. Three aneurysms were discoverer (making it likely that this has been a congenital disorder according to my Dr). I had 2 coiled when I had the SAH and the 3rd coiled 3 months later.

The second coiling was totally different from the emergency one. I was fully 'with it' when I came round post op & allowed to go home the next morning. There are always risks involved with a brain op & your own Dr should be able to give you all the info you would need should you have to make a decision.

My oldest son is 21 and has been offered scanning, although he was told SAH is rare under 30 and has decided to leave it for now (I think we all believe we are invincible at 21!!). He was also advised to consider that they may find aneurysms in areas that they are unable to treat & this would have a major impact on his life. It would also give him the opportunity to reduce all the risks if he possibly could.

Personally, having been through SAH & adjusting to the aftermath, I would take the opportunity to be screened in the hope of avoiding it. It is a massive decision for you to make and only you can decide how you want to proceed.

Best wishes & good luck if you go ahead with the scan. Prevention is better than cure must be a well known phrase for a reason?

Michelle

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  • 2 months later...

Hi there,

I had my CT a few weeks back now, and everything was normal. I've been asked to come back in 5 years time for another check, so it's quite a relief. I know that the risk is still there, however I also know that my risk wasn't all that high compared to someone without family history. I think I can count myself very lucky to be clear for now and know I'll be scanned again in the future.

Thanks to you all for your words of wisdom, it is much appreciated.

Regards,

Craig

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