Miami Failure to Diagnose Aneurysm Malpractice Lawyer
An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in an artery due to weakness in the wall of that artery. Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to the body. Usually, the walls of arteries are thick in order to hold up against the normal pressure of blood flowing through them. When the walls of an artery are damaged from some type of trauma, a medical problem, or a genetic condition, the force of blood pushing against the weakened artery can cause an aneurysm.
An aneurysm can lie dormant for months, years, or even a lifetime. Unfortunately, the aneurysm can also grow bigger and eventually rupture or dissect. When an aneurysm ruptures, it releases blood into the body at the sight of the rupture. A dissection, or split in the layers of the artery walls, leads to bleeding into and along the layers of the artery walls. Both a rupture and a dissection have the potential to be fatal.
An aneurysm can occur in any part of the body, but two specific areas of the body are responsible for the majority of fatal cases. Aortic aneurysms are those that are located in the aorta, the largest artery in the body that runs through the chest and abdomen. Cerebral aneurysms are found in the brain.
Many aneurysms, especially aortic ones, are discovered when a doctor is examining a patient for another reason entirely, often during an x-ray or ultrasound. Follow-up tests may include an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CAT scan (computerized axial tomography).
How Can a Doctor Fail to Diagnose an Aneurysm?
It is not unusual for a patient with an aneurysm to experience no symptoms at all for many years. In fact, an aneurysm can grow quite large before it begins to cause any problems. Unfortunately for the patient, the larger the aneurysm grows, the more susceptible it is to rupturing or dissecting. Sadly, most patients with an aneurysm will be unaware of its existence until it bursts. When symptoms do surface, they often present themselves in the following ways:
- Neck pain (cerebral)
- Pain in the chest or abdomen (aortic)
- Sudden, severe headaches (cerebral)
- Seizures (aortic or cerebral)
- Blurred or double vision (cerebral)
- Nausea and vomiting (aortic or cerebral)
Doctors sometimes fail to diagnose aneurysms accurately, instead believing patients may be suffering from high blood pressure or a heart attack. When an aneurysm is misdiagnosed, the mistake can have fatal consequences. A patient’s chances of survival significantly increase with early detection and treatment.
Certain risk factors that should put doctors on notice for the possibility of an aneurysm include:
- A family history of aneurysms
- Congenital birth defects (such as an inherited weakness of artery walls)
- A history of high blood pressure
- Atherosclerosis (accumulation of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries)
- A traumatic injury
Doctors who misdiagnose an aneurysm when a patient falls into multiple known risk categories may be considered negligent, particularly when the doctor is aware of the patient’s risk factors.
Contact Pita Weber Del Prado, PA Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a failure to diagnose an aneurysm, you may need the services of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Call our Miami office today at (305) 670-8060 to schedule a free, confidential obligation.