Intracranial Hemorrhage

Intracranial hemorrhage (brain bleed) is the most common and deadliest cause of a stroke. There are up to 67,000 cases of this condition annually in the United States. Severe head injury and other conditions affecting the brain can cause bleeding. Some cases of a brain bleed may immediately show symptoms, while others may take days or weeks to develop.

If you or a loved one recently experienced a head injury or is experiencing symptoms such as severe headaches, nausea and more, seek medical care immediately. Nacogdoches Medical Partners in Nacogdoches, TX have physicians that can provide you with proper medical diagnosis, evaluation and treatment.

What Is Intracranial Hemorrhage?

Intracranial hemorrhage is a medical emergency that refers to bleeding in the brain. It is life-threatening and requires immediate treatment. The brain relies on the brain’s blood vessels for oxygen and nutrient supplies because it cannot store oxygen. When there is a brain bleed, oxygen may be unable to reach the brain tissue due to leaky blood vessels. Bleeding can also put pressure on the brain and deprive it of oxygen.

Brain bleeds usually happen suddenly, although in some cases, they can take weeks before symptoms appear. This condition can destroy brain cells, which don’t regenerate, and result in physical, cognitive or motor disability. The severity of this condition depends on the bleeding’s location, size, cause and the lapsed time between discovering it and its treatment, the patient’s age and overall health.

Types of Brain Bleeds

The brain has three meninges or membrane layers that protect and cover the brain and spinal cord:

  • Dura mater – the outer meninge closest to the skull
  • Arachnoid mater – the middle layer
  • Pia mater – the inner layer closest to the brain tissue

The three spaces within these membrane layers are:

  • Epidural space – located between the skull and dura mater.
  • Subdural space – located between the dura mater and arachnoid mater.
  • Subarachnoid space – a space between the arachnoid and pia mater filled with cerebrospinal fluid that protects and cushions the brain and spinal cord.

Brain bleeding can occur inside the skull, outside the brain tissue or inside the brain tissue. Types of brain bleeds include:

  • Epidural hematoma – bleeding in the epidural area. Blunt or penetrating head trauma can damage the meningeal artery, meningeal vein or other blood vessels in or near the epidural space.
  • Subdural hemorrhage – bleeding in the subdural space resulting from the stretching or tearing a vessel traversing between the brain and skull. This condition may occur after a blunt head injury or penetrating head trauma.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage – bleeding between the brain and its membranes that may be caused by trauma with a blunt head injury with or without penetration. Subarachnoid hemorrhage can be:
    • Aneurysmal – caused by a cerebral aneurysm rupture
    • Non-aneurysmal – bleeding without an identifiable aneurysm
  • Intraparenchymal hemorrhage – bleeding into the brain’s functional tissue called parenchyma. Trauma, hypertension, infection, aneurysm rupture and other conditions may cause intraparenchymal hemorrhage.

    What Causes a Brain Bleed?

    Brain bleed causes may include:

    • Head injury or trauma
    • Cerebral aneurysm
    • Consumption of illicit drugs
    • Bleeding disorders
    • Blood vessel anomalies
    • Blood diseases
    • Brain tumor
    • Extremely high blood pressure
    • Liver disease

    Symptoms of Brain Bleed

    Visit a doctor if you or a loved one experiences any of the following brain bleed symptoms:

    • Loss of consciousness after injury
    • Fainting
    • Severe headaches
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Lethargy
    • Seizure
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Vertigo
    • Double vision
    • Motor deficits
    • Slurred speech
    • Altered mental status
    • Personality changes
    • Changes in sensation
    • Decreased consciousness
    • Communication difficulties
    • Reduced ability to flex the neck forward

    How Is Intracranial Hemorrhage Diagnosed?

    Intracranial hemorrhage is diagnosed through a patient’s medical history, physical examination and imaging tests such as:

    • Computerized tomography (CT) without contrast – the most rapid tool for intracranial hemorrhage diagnosis.
    • CT angiography – the most widely available, noninvasive diagnostic technique for ruling out other blood vessel abnormalities.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – equivalent to a CT for detecting acute intracranial hemorrhage and underlying secondary causes of this condition.

    Intracranial Hemorrhage Treatment

    Intracranial hemorrhage treatment aims to relieve pressure on the brain by stopping the bleeding and removing the clot. At Nacogdoches Medical Partners, we consider the patient’s symptoms, overall health, possible treatment risks and other factors to create an appropriate treatment plan. Non-surgical treatments may include:

    • Medication to manage blood pressure
    • Controlling and measuring intracranial pressure
    • Injecting a clotting factor to help blood to clot normally

    Surgical treatments may include:

    • Craniotomy – accessing the brain by removing a skull bone piece to remove the clot.
    • Stereotactic clot aspiration – a minimally invasive procedure to remove a clot deep inside the brain.

    What Are the Chances of Surviving a Brain Bleed?

    Intracerebral hemorrhage accounts for up to 15% of all stroke cases and is associated with a high mortality and disability risk. The 30-day mortality rate among patients with intracranial hemorrhage is about 40%, and up to 39% of surviving patients can perform activities safely and without much help from others. There is a 26.7% survival rate among patients with hemorrhagic stroke within five years.

    Never Ignore Symptoms of Intracranial Hemorrhage

    Contact an emergency service after getting a head injury or experiencing any symptoms of intracranial hemorrhage to get a proper assessment of your condition. Our neurosurgeons have extensive experience diagnosing, evaluating and treating various brain conditions. Don’t delay care.

    We’ve Got Your Back

    You don’t have to bear the burden of pain alone. Our providers are here to listen to you and provide compassionate care. Whether you’re suffering from neck pain, an injury or any other orthopedic condition affecting your spine, Nacogdoches Medical Partners is here to help. We provide spine care services from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation. Early treatment may help relieve your symptoms and prevent your condition from worsening. Call 888-421-9679 or click the button below to schedule an appointment.