Difference Between Stroke and Aneurysm

Stroke vs Aneurysm

The human brain is one of the wondorous results of the evolutionary process. It can be considered as the central hub of control for almost all the bodily functions. These include cognitive functions, muscle control, vision, speech, etc. If this central control hub was to be damaged, then all the above mentioned functions will be affected. The progression of affliction or the permutations of the deficit is dependent on the area of the injury. The most common non traumatic causes are dependent on the vasculature of the brain. Even though the brain receives one fifths of the pumped blood from the heart, there are areas of concern where many afflictions can influence the condition of the brain. Stroke and aneurysm are two terms used to describe some of these events, but they are sometimes used interchangeably, which sow confusion to some people.


A stroke is an event where the whole or partial functioning of the brain is affected, which has lasted for over 24 hours with a vascular origin. A stroke could be ischaemic in nature, due to an obstruction in the vessels or haemorragic in nature, due to bleeding in to the brain cranial cavity. The obstruction may be due to a clot formed outside traveling to the vessels of the brain or a clot formed within the premises of the brain. A bleeding can be within the brain substance or just beyond it. Management is dependent on the type of stroke, and also requires rehabilitation and management of co morbidities.


An aneurysm is the abnormal widening of an artery, anywhere, due to the weakness in the wall of that vessel. The locations for these aneurysms are the abdominal aorta, the cerebral vessels, poplitial arteries, etc. These dilatations continue to grow and when they go beyond the 5.5 cm diameter level, there is a high probability of a rupture leading to bleeding. When this happens in the brain it is called a subarachnoid haemorrhage, due to the fact that vessels in the brain are going under a covering called the arachnoid mater. A ruptured cerebral aneurysm gives symptoms similar to a stroke due to reduced blood flow to the brain and stagnation of blood in the cranial cavity and the cerebrospinal fluid. The management of a ruptured aneurysm depends on the site, and the level of bleeding. It is usually medical management with surgical intervention.

Difference between Stroke and Aneurysm

A stroke and an aneurysm can occur due to atherosclerotic plaques, and the symptoms due to lack of blood supply to the brain substance, overlap. A stroke is related specifically to the brain, and an aneurysm can be related to anywhere in the vascular tree. Most of the times, a stroke will be preceded with co morbid risk factors, whereas an aneurysm will rupture with no previous history at all. A stroke presents with symptoms and signs, but an aneurysm is usually without symptoms except when it ruptures. A stroke does not cause symptoms due to blood in the arachnoid mater or the CSF, but a ruptured aneurysm does. The management of stroke is mostly medical where as the management of aneurysm is mostly surgical.

In summary, a stroke requires urgent management, whereas an aneurysm can be observed unless it has ruptured or at risk of rupture. When we are relating to aneurysm, we have to specify the locality of it as cerebral aneurysm, etc. We have to be aware of the similar and dissimilar symptoms of the two entities.