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Neurointerventional Surgery

Hemorrhagic Stroke


What is a hemorrhagic stroke?

Hemorrhagic strokes make up about 13 % of stroke cases. They're caused by a weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain. The blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue. The two types of hemorrhagic strokes are intracerebral (within the brain) hemorrhage or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

What are the symptoms of a hemorrhagic stroke?

Symptoms of a hemorrhagic stroke can vary from person to person, but they’re almost always present immediately after the stroke occurs.

Symptoms may include:

  • total or limited loss of consciousness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sudden and severe headache
  • weakness or numbness in the face, leg, or arm on one side of the body
  • seizures
  • dizziness
  • loss of balance
  • problems with speech or swallowing
  • confusion or disorientation

How is a hemorrhagic stroke diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a hemorrhagic stroke is based on a thorough medical history and physical exam, and doctors may strongly suspect bleeding inside the skull based on the patient’s symptoms.

When a stroke is suspected, imaging tests including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans can determine whether the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic stroke) or by bleeding inside the brain (hemorrhagic). An electroencephalogram (EEG) or lumbar puncture (spinal tap) may confirm the diagnosis of a hemorrhagic stroke.

How is hemorrhagic stroke treated?

Patients who have symptoms of a hemorrhagic stroke should seek immediate emergency medical care. Prompt medical attention may prevent life-threatening complications and widespread damage to the brain.

Treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke depends on the cause, location, and size of the hemorrhage. Treatments such as surgical clipping or coil embolization may also be performed to stop the bleeding and reduce the pressure. Medicines may be given to reduce swelling, prevent seizures, and reduce pain.

The goals of treatment are to prevent life-threatening complications that may occur soon after stroke symptoms develop, prevent future strokes, reduce disability, prevent long-term complications, and help the patient recover as much normal functioning as possible through rehabilitation.