A hemorrhagic stroke develops when a blood vessel (artery) in the brain leaks or bursts (ruptures). This causes bleeding:
- Inside the brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage).
- Near the surface of the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage or subdural hemorrhage). A common cause of subarachnoid hemorrhage is the rupture of an aneurysm.
Hemorrhagic strokes are not as common as strokes caused by a blood clot (ischemic strokes). But hemorrhagic strokes cause death more often than ischemic strokes. See the difference between an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke.
How is hemorrhagic stroke treated?
Treatment includes efforts to control bleeding, reduce pressure in the brain, and stabilize vital signs, especially blood pressure.
- To stop the bleeding, you may be given medicine or a transfusion of parts of blood, such as plasma. These are given through an IV.
- You will be closely monitored for signs of increased pressure on the brain. These signs include restlessness, confusion, trouble following commands, and headache. Other measures will be taken to keep you from straining from excessive coughing, vomiting, or lifting, or straining to pass stool or change position.
- If the bleeding is due to a ruptured brain aneurysm, surgery to repair the aneurysm may be done.
- In some cases, medicines may be given to control blood pressure, brain swelling, blood sugar levels, fever, and seizures.
- If a large amount of bleeding has occurred and symptoms are quickly getting worse, you may need surgery to remove the blood that has built up inside the brain and to lower pressure inside the head.
Ask your doctor if a stroke rehab program is right for you. Starting a rehab program as soon as possible after a stroke increases your chances of regaining some of the abilities you lost.
Other Works Consulted
- Claude Hemphill J, et al. (2015). Guidelines for the management of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage: A guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, 46(7): 2032–2060. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000069. Accessed June 23, 2015.
Current as of: March 4, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Richard D. Zorowitz MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation