Misdiagnosis, Failure to Diagnose, and Improper Treatment for any Type of Aneurysm May Mean You Are Eligible for Compensation in New Jersey
An aneurysm is one of the many consequences of high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, an aneurysm is a bulging, weakened blood vessel wall that abnormally widens the blood vessel by one-half or more of its average size. Typically, an aneurysm appears in an artery. Anyone can have one, but they are not as common in adults younger than 30, and women suffer more aneurysms than men. Though aneurysms can go undetected for years, once signs appear, the condition can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated immediately.
Three Main Types of Aneurysms
Abdominal aortic, thoracic aortic, and cerebral aneurysms are the three main types of aneurysms.
About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is the weakening of the large blood vessel, or aorta, that transports blood to the abdominal region, including the pelvis and legs. Older males with emphysema, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and a history of abdominal aortic aneurysms are at higher risk for this type. Still, women are more likely to experience small aneurysm ruptures. A rupture is most often fatal.
Understanding Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
A thoracic aortic aneurysm is likewise an extreme emergency when ruptured. In this type, the aorta leading to the diaphragm via the chest balloons, typically caused by atherosclerosis, known as hardening of the arteries, an aging condition. Thus, risk factors include advanced age, genetics, inflammation, chest wall injury, and respiratory infection. Though an afflicted individual may feel no symptoms, others may have swallowing difficulties, hoarseness, panic, chest pain, increased heart rate, and clammy skin.
Basics of Cerebral Aneurysms
The more common aneurysm is in the brain. A cerebral aneurysm affects up to 5% of the nation and may be one of three types: saccular, fusiform, and mycotic. Saccular aneurysms occur when round blood sacs form and attach to a main artery at the brain base, thus the name berry aneurysm. This type may be hereditary and occurs mostly in adults. Fusiform aneurysm balloons form the sides of an artery, and mycotic aneurysms result from infections that weaken artery walls, creating bulges.
Atherosclerosis, infection, trauma, polycystic kidney disease, and endocarditis may cause a cerebral aneurysm. A person may not experience symptoms or suffer a severe headache, eye pain, numbness, weakness, face paralysis, dilated pupils, double vision, nausea, vomiting, seizures, light sensitivity, or stiff neck. At its worst, a cerebral aneurysm may cause a heart attack. Without immediate medical attention, someone with a cerebral aneurysm will die.
Development of an Aneurysm
Aneurysms form for unknown reasons, and people may live with one for years symptom-free. Some may result from chronic hypertension that damages blood vessels over time. Atherosclerosis correlates with aneurysms, as fatty plaques characteristic of this condition weaken blood vessel walls. Some may be hereditary, but damage to the aorta by injury or disease may also cause the condition. Lifestyle choices, too, increase the aneurysm risk by smoking, untreated high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Identifying the Signs of an Aneurysm
An aneurysm causes symptoms after sudden growth or rupture. The aneurysm location will determine the symptoms but typically, headaches, visual changes, confusion, fatigue, hoarseness, high-pitched breathing sounds, neck swelling, accelerated heart rate, dizziness, swallowing difficulties, nausea, and chest pain are most common. A person may feel like death is imminent. Any of these signs are disturbing enough to prompt consultation with a doctor or the hospital immediately.
What Tests are Used for Aneurysm Diagnosis?
An angiogram, CT scan, MRI, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, or ultrasound are tests that doctors run to diagnose aneurysms. An angiogram test uses a femoral artery catheter to the heart and inserts dye to find blockages, narrowing, or bulging in the arteries. Once an aneurysm appears, a physician monitors the aneurysm for changes and location, periodically measuring any growth.
What are the Treatment Options for Aneurysms?
As long as the aneurysm does not rupture, the treatment is monitored with medication until a physician determines surgery is necessary. Surgical implantation of a stent to support the weakened blood vessel wall is one type of treatment, among other endovascular therapies. Another is clipping or coiling a ballooned vessel wall to close it off. Since specific triggers, like heavy lifting or strong emotions, can raise blood pressure or strain the aneurysm, a physician should warn a patient about these dangers and advise how to maintain good lifestyle habits while harboring an aneurysm safely.
The optimal treatment of an aneurysm is early diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Tragedies happen to those whose medical team fails to diagnose an aneurysm that eventually bursts. Preventative repairs may save a patient’s life. When a physician misdiagnoses a patient’s stomach pain as a virus or food poisoning, the actual cause may appear in the emergency room when an aneurysm bursts. By that time, it is too late, as only half of aneurysm ruptures end in patient survival. Without running the proper tests and swiftly obtaining the results, a physician may cause a patient’s demise or permanent health damage. Failing to monitor a diagnosed aneurysm is also a form of physician negligence that may have dire consequences.
What Happens if an Aneurysm Ruptures?
When an aneurysm ruptures, the blood loss is enormous and lowers the patient’s survival chances. A rupture may cause hemorrhaging, stroke, brain damage, coma, cardiac arrest, and death. When a patient survives, the recovery is long and gradual, but they may still die of complications, such as kidney failure, or live with permanent neurological defects. An undiagnosed, unruptured aneurysm can cause pressure on the surrounding nerves and tissues, leading to severe symptoms, like blinding headaches or eye pain for cerebral aneurysms, or difficulty eating.
When a rupture happens, a person or their loved ones may find themselves exploring medical malpractice or wrongful death claims and the rights they have to file a lawsuit. Questions often arise as to whether you or your family members are eligible to recover compensation from those responsible for medical negligence in an aneurysm case.
Filing a Lawsuit for Medical Errors with an Aneurysm in New Jersey
Whether the person involved suffers health damage or death, it is crucial to consult a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer who can take you through the stages and steps of investigating what happened, requesting all of the records involved in your treatment and care, consulting with medical experts in the right fields, and pursuing a legal claim against a negligent physician, hospital, medical staff, or all of them. A medical malpractice lawsuit is typically not the first step in obtaining a compensatory award, but understanding your rights and options is imperative.
Successful lawsuits for medical errors in the diagnosis, treatment, or management of an aneurysm can result in compensation to cover a victim’s past and future economic damages, including physical, speech, and occupational therapy that may be necessary for adapting to daily life challenges with health impairment. For families of a deceased loved one, wrongful death compensation may include the economic and emotional support of a lost loved one.
Seek Assistance from a Dedicated NJ Aneurysm Negligence Attorney
If you suspect that medical negligence occurred in an aneurysm case involving yourself or someone you love in New Jersey, explore the legal channels that you may pursue and seek answers to all of your questions by contacting Fronzuto Law Group. Call 973-435-4551 or request a free case review from our accomplished and compassionate medical malpractice and wrongful death attorneys if you need assistance with an aneurysm legal case.