If you’re a baseball fan, you may remember the dramatic story of White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar. In April, 31-year-old Farquar collapsed in the middle of a game. He had relieved the starting pitcher in the sixth inning, pitched for one inning, then fainted in the dugout.
He was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure – and it’s a good thing he was. Farquar had suffered a hemorrhage: he was bleeding into his brain as a result of a ruptured brain aneurysm, and his life was on the line.
“An aneurysm happens when a blood vessel’s walls weaken. Over time, those weakened blood vessel walls begin to bulge or balloon out.
A brain aneurysm is what we call that bulging or ballooning blood vessel in the brain,” said neurosurgeon Jae Lim, MD of Reston Hospital Center, an expert in treating brain aneurysms. “If a brain aneurysm ruptures, it causes a brain hemorrhage, bleeding inside the brain, which is a life-threatening emergency.”
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, there are over six million people in the United States living with a brain aneurysm. In 30,000 instances a year, those aneurysms rupture, which is deadly in about 40 percent of cases. While most strokes are caused by a blood clot in one of the brain’s blood vessels, brain hemorrhages cause a different kind of stroke: a hemorrhagic stroke. Survivors of a brain hemorrhage often experience long-term disability as a result of the damage the brain suffers.
For Danny Farquar, that life-threatening rupture occurred in front of thousands of baseball fans – and more importantly, in an environment where he was surrounded by the team’s medical staff. Farquar has made an amazing recovery. His doctors have cleared him to start throwing a baseball again, just two months after his brain hemorrhage. He is starting slowly, working back toward his previous activity level over time. It is not known whether he will be able to pitch at a major league level again, but for now, he is happy to be walking and talking without significant problems. He credits his great outcome to quick emergency medical treatment.
Treatment options for a ruptured aneurysm include open surgery as well as minimally invasive endovascular treatments. Reston Hospital Center specializes in minimally invasive surgical approaches. At the Virginia Institute of Robotic Surgery at Reston Hospital Center, we collaborate on emerging technologies and techniques, delivering advanced procedures and services close to home. Learn more about interventional neuroradiology and surgical services at Reston Hospital Center.
Learn about the warning signs of stroke with this quick video:.
Stroke Risk Assessment
Assess your risk for a brain aneurysm or stroke using this FREE online tool.