A brain aneurysm rupture can cause temporary or permanent complications. It may take 6–8 weeks to recover from aneurysm repair surgery and months to years to regain lost function.

A brain aneurysm is a bulging and weakened part of an artery in your brain. An estimated 3.2% of people in the world have a brain aneurysm. Many people don’t know they have one until it ruptures and causes symptoms.

Ruptured aneurysms occur in approximately 30,000 people per year in the United States. They’re a life-threatening medical emergency that requires quick treatment within the first 24–48 hours to reduce the chances of complications.

Recovery from an aneurysm can be a long and difficult process. Many surviving people have brain damage that can cause cognitive challenges or permanent disability. Read on to learn more about what the recovery process from a ruptured brain aneurysm may look like.

A ruptured brain aneurysm can cause bleeding inside your brain and subarachnoid hemorrhage, where blood leaks into the space between your skull and your brain. This bleeding can be life-threatening or cause temporary to permanent disability.

Some people who receive prompt medical treatment survive with minimal complications. Approximately 25% of people die within the first 24 hours, and 50% die within 3 months. Up to 50% of people have permanent neurological and cognitive deficits, and only about 6%–17% of survivors return to work.

Receiving emergency medical treatment within 24 hours gives the best chance of avoiding permanent complications.

Complications of a ruptured aneurysm

According to the American Stroke Association, about two-thirds of people who experience a ruptured brain aneurysm have some brain damage. Brain damage may cause temporary or permanent complications such as:

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Symptoms usually occur suddenly once an aneurysm ruptures. Almost everybody experiences a sudden and severe headache. Many people describe this headache as the worst headache of their life.

Other symptoms may include:

The first part of recovery from a ruptured brain aneurysm involves emergency treatment. Doctors administer nimodipine to reduce the risk of severe loss of blood supply to the brain. The aneurysm is then surgically repaired with either a special coil or clip to prevent it from bleeding again.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, you may need to stay in the hospital for the next 10–14 days after your surgery to monitor and treat complications. Your risk of brain swelling is highest in the first 2–5 days.

Your medical team will perform a type of imaging called cerebral angiography before surgery to find the location of the aneurysm and after to see if your aneurysm was successfully treated.

It may take 6–8 weeks to recover fully from surgery. Persistent fatigue might continue for up to 6 months. It’s important to get plenty of rest while you’re recovering.

Many people with brain damage are able to regain at least some function in the following months to years with the help of therapies such as:

About half of people who have a brain aneurysm die within 3 months, although this percentage varies widely between studies.

In a 2020 study from Spain, researchers reported the following survival rates in 311 people who had a subarachnoid hemorrhage:

Time periodSurvival rate
3 months81.6%
1 year77.1%
5 years71%

In a 2019 study from France, researchers found that the survival rate among 51 children who had ruptured or symptomatic aneurysms was 80.4% at an average follow-up of 8.3 years. Roughly two-thirds of children had favorable outcomes.

Learn more about the long-term recovery of a brain aneurysm.

Christian’s story

Christian’s wife had an aneurysm at 31 years old. With the help of supportive therapies, she now has minimal complications.

When my wife suffered a brain aneurysm rupture 3 years ago, I was
terrified. We had been together for over a decade and the thought of losing
her seemed unbearable. Little did I know that in spite of its severity,
recovery from this type of injury is possible with proper care and

My wife’s medical team worked diligently to keep her alive and stable while
monitoring her progress every step of the way. She was placed in a
medically induced coma to reduce the risk of further complications, and
after 2 weeks, she began to slowly emerge from it. It took several more
weeks of physical and occupational therapy before she could walk again.

However, her recovery didn’t end there. Following her release from the
hospital, we sought out additional therapies such as speech pathology and
cognitive rehabilitation to help her regain the skills she had lost due to
the aneurysm. While progress was slow at first, with each passing day she
made strides in regaining her cognition and memory.

During the recovery, she encountered several setbacks, but with
determination and perseverance, she was eventually able to return to her
day-to-day activities. Today, 3 years after the aneurysm rupture, my
wife continues to live a full life with minimal effects from her injury.

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A ruptured aneurysm has the lowest chance of complications if it’s treated surgically within 24 hours. You may need to stay in the hospital for 10 to 14 days while doctors monitor for complications. Recovery from surgery may take 6 to 8 weeks.

Many people who survive a ruptured aneurysm develop brain damage. Physiotherapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy may help you regain lost function in the following months to years.