Definition & Facts
There are different categories of brain hemorrhages.
- Intracranial hemorrhage. This is when bleeding occurs inside a person's skull.
- Intracerebral or cerebral hemorrhage. This happens when there is bleeding within or around a person's brain itself.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage. This is a type of bleeding that occurs in the small space between a person's brain and the thin tissue that covers it.
A brain hemorrhage is categorized as a form of stroke. The bleeding that occurs during a brain hemorrhage will destroy a person's brain cells. They are responsible for over 12 percent of all strokes that occur annually.
Symptoms & Complaints
- Severe Headache. A person could have a sudden and very severe headache.
- Sudden Weakness. A person may experience a tingling or paralysis in their face, legs or arms. This is an immediate concern if it occurs on only one side of their body.
- Confusion. There is a sudden loss of understanding of what is happening around them as well as signs of delirium.
- Swallowing. A person will struggle with any type of swallowing.
- Lethargy. Noticeable apathy as well as sleepiness or even loss of consciousness.
- Sickness. A person could suddenly experience severe nausea and vomiting.
- Vision. They could struggle to see out of one or both of their eyes.
- Speaking. A person could struggle with speaking, understanding, writing as well as reading.
- Balance. People may lose their sense of balance, experience dizziness and have issues with their coordination.
Many of these symptoms could also be an indication of the presence of other types of medical conditions.
There are a number of different reasons a brain hemorrhage occurs. One of them is arteriovenous malformation (AVM). This is a condition caused when the blood vessels in a brain become tangled. Arteriovenous malformations are blood vessel abnormalities. This could be identified at birth but only diagnosed should symptoms of a brain hemorrhage occur.
There is an abnormality of the blood vessel walls known as amyloid angiopathy. This is a result of aging. This could cause small and unnoticed bleeding in the brain prior to a full brain hemorrhage. It could also result from brain tumors as well as some forms of liver disease.
Diagnosis & Tests
When someone shows signs of a brain hemorrhage, there are certain tests that can be conducted to confirm it. A physician may perform a neurological exam. The goal will be to assess a person's motor and sensory skills. The function of their cranial nerves, balance, mood, coordination, speech, vision and more will be examined. This can be done with a reflex hammer, ophthalmoscope, flashlight and more. Depending on what is determined, a specialist may be asked to perform additional tests.
A cerebral angiogram is a test designed to detect any artery obstruction or narrowing of a blood vessel located in the brain. An image of the brain can be obtained by using a computed tomography (CT) scan. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test also helps a physician get a clear image of the brain. This makes it possible to identify and confirm any type bleeding in and around the brain.
An EEG is able to monitor brain activity. It can identify many types of disorders that affect the brain. Ultrasound imaging utilizes high-frequency sound waves to produce images from inside a person's body. It is able to help analyze a brain's blood flow and more.
Treatment & Therapy
When a patient has been diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage, the situation must be very carefully monitored. The initial treatment will involve stabilizing the blood pressure and breathing. It's possible a breathing assist machine could be used. This will ensure the patient's brain is getting a sufficient amount of oxygen. Should a person be unconscious, the monitoring of their blood oxygen levels, as well as heart rhythms, are also essential. It's also important to monitor the pressure inside their skull.
It's possible for a variety of different types of medications to be administered to decrease bleeding in the area of the brain where a hemorrhage occurred. This medication will also prevent the possibility of a seizure. Surgery is also an option in certain circumstances. A patient's age as well as medical condition will be taken into consideration prior to the surgery.
The location of the hemorrhage, as well as the effect of the drainage pattern, are also important factors. It could involve endoscopic drainage as well as stereotactic needle evacuation and more. A standard craniotomy could also be performed.
Prevention & Prophylaxis