David Crosby: “Joni Mitchell Had an Aneurysm”- UPDATE

In a HuffPost Live interview, singer David Crosby revealed that Joni Mitchell had suffered a brain bleed from a aneurysm in April.

The singing/songwriting legend was hospitalized after being found unconscious in her Los Angeles home. It was reported that she was conscious and alert by the time paramedics took her to the hospital. The Her official website had released the following statement:

“Joni remains under observation in the hospital and is resting comfortably. We are encouraged by her progress and she continues to improve and get stronger each day.”

Crosby’s interview paints a much more serious picture:

“Nobody found her for a while. She took a terrible hit. To my knowledge she is not speaking yet…She’s going to have to struggle back from it the way you struggle back from a traumatic brain injury…”

UPDATE- June 29, 2015

According to a statement on Joni Mitchell’s website:

“Leslie Morris, Joni’s conservator, has approved the following statement to be made through JoniMitchell.com: “Joni did in fact suffer an aneurysm. However, details that have emerged in the past few days are mostly speculative. The truth is that Joni is speaking, and she’s speaking well. She is not walking yet, but she will be in the near future as she is undergoing daily therapies. She is resting comfortably in her own home and she’s getting better each day. A full recovery is expected.” You may leave your well wishes for Joni at WeLoveYouJoni.com

What is a brain aneurysm?

A cerebral aneurysm (also known as an brain or intracranial  aneurysm) is a weak or thin spot on a blood vessel in the brain that balloons out and fills with blood. It is estimated that one in fifteen people in the US will develop an aneurysm during their lifetime. The bulging aneurysm can put pressure on a nerve or surrounding brain tissue.  It may also leak or rupture, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue (called a hemorrhage).  Some cerebral aneurysms, particularly those that are very small, do not bleed or cause other problems.  Cerebral aneurysms can occur anywhere in the brain, but most are located along a loop of arteries that run between the underside of the brain and the base of the skull.

 

Symptoms depend on what structure the aneurysm pushes on, but may include:

  • Double vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Headaches
  • Eye pain
  • Neck pain

A sudden, severe headache (often described as “the worst headache of your life”) is one symptom that an aneurysm has ruptured.

Other symptoms of an aneurysm rupture may include:

  • Confusion, lethargy, or sleepiness
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Headaches with nausea and/or vomiting
  • Muscle weakness or difficulty moving any part of the body
  • Numbness or decreased sensation in any part of the body
  • Seizures
  • Speech impairment
  • Sudden onset of irritability, impulsiveness, or loss of temper control
  • Vision changes (double vision, loss of vision)

NOTE: A ruptured aneurysm is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical help.

Treatment of unruptured aneurysms may be one of two ways- depending on size, shape and location:

1. An open skull procedure, with placement of a clip to cut off the aneurysm
2. An endovascular procedure, where a catheter is threaded into the artery and small metal wires are inserted into the aneurysm. These wires coil up into a mesh ball and encourage the formation of a blood clot, which prevents the aneurysm from rupturing. This is a less invasive procedure, but is not appropriate for all types of aneurysms.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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