If a person has a brain aneurysm, would getting “bonked” in the head, from the activities of daily living, necessarily rupture it?

I was motivated to write about this topic after reading on a health anxiety site’s forum a post.

The post was in response to the OP who feared a brain bleed after hitting his head doing something about the house.

The responder said that he knew of a woman who knew a woman who hit her head on an open cupboard door. Soon after she developed concerning symptoms and later died.

The cause of death was bleeding in the brain – from a pre-existing aneurysm that had ruptured—apparently as a result of hitting her head.

We don’t know the true facts; the responder’s story is too far removed. He didn’t witness the mishap. He didn’t speak to her doctor. It’s hearsay.

However, it makes a compelling question: IF someone already—and that’s the key word, “already” – has an aneurysm, CAN getting hit in the head cause it to rupture?

“It’s very unlikely that small trauma to the head would rupture an aneurysm,” says neurosurgeon Charles Park, MD, Director of The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

“The aneurysm rupture is associated with the size of the aneurysm and also the blood pressure fluctuations and smoking.

“Having bonked in the head would not develop an aneurysm nor would it make one more likely to rupture.”

So what about the man’s story in the forum? It could be possible that the woman’s pre-existing aneurysm had already been in the process of slowly leaking. It may have been huge. She may have had other risk factors for rupture.

Dr. Park specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques for treatment of conditions affecting the brain and spine. He’s skilled in advanced procedures and techniques that utilize innovative computer technology and image-guided surgery systems.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  

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Top image: OpenStax College