This type of stroke happens when a blood vessel leaks or ruptures in or near the brain. The ruptured vessel stops blood supply for the areas past the leak. Then blood floods the nearby tissues causing pressure and function changes. It is referred to as a hemorrhagic (hem-o-RAJ-ic) stroke.
Could I have had a hemorrhagic stroke?
You may need to have a series of tests before your doctor can tell you whether you had a hemorrhagic stroke. People who have these types of strokes tend to be younger. The symptoms appear very quickly and may progress, leading to coma. Symptoms that appear during this type of stroke are a very severe headache, nausea, and vomiting. Unlike other kinds of stroke, there may be no other symptoms before the stroke. It can occur anytime of day, and often during exertion.
Not all of these strokes are the same.
• Subarachnoid hemorrhage: This occurs when a blood vessel on the surface
of the brain ruptures and bleeds into the space between the brain and skull.
The most common cause is a ruptured aneurysm caused by high blood
pressure. Other causes are: rupture of an AVM (arteriovenous
malformation), bleeding from an injury due to a blow to the head, or venous
or capillary problems.
• Intracerebral hemorrhage: This is bleeding into the tissue deep within the
brain. High blood pressure is often the cause of this type of stroke. Injury
and rupture due to problem vessels can also be the cause.
How are these strokes treated?
• Surgery. At times, a neurosurgeon will put in a drain, repair a vessel,
remove a clot, or repair or revise an AVM.
• Hospital care. Since bleeding into the brain can be life threatening, hospital
care may occur in an Intensive Care Unit.
• Drugs. Drugs can be used to lower blood pressure. Other drugs can help to
reduce swelling and pressure to the brain that may follow a stroke.
• Rehabilitation. There is a focus on independence. We provide devices and
services which increase the number of things a person is able to do for
• Prevention. Doing all you can to prevent another stroke is a big part of
treatment. See Health Facts for You # 5736 (Things You Can Do To Reduce
Your Risk of Stroke).
To learn more
• Talk to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider. Call the American
Heart Association’s Stroke connection. Dial 1-800-553-6321
• Talk to your family. If someone in your family has had a stroke, you and
other family members may be at higher risk. It is useful to make changes
now to lower the risk.
American Heart Association Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2005 Update. Dallas, Texas: American Heart Association;2004
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/06/2013
Copyright © 03/06/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6298
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