What Is Intracranial Hemorrhage?

Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) occurs when a blood vessel ruptures within the brain or between the skull and the brain. The collection of blood (hematoma) then compresses the brain tissue, resulting in symptoms. There are three types of hematomas:

  • Subdural hematoma: Blood vessels that rupture between the brain and the three outermost layers that cover the brain known as dura mater
  • Epidural hematoma: Also known as extradural hematoma, epidural hematoma occurs when a blood vessel—normally an artery—ruptures between the outer surface of the dura mater and the skull
  • Intraparenchymal hematoma: Also known as intracerebral hematoma, this type occurs when blood pools within the brain itself

ICH is typically the result of a head injury due to:

  • Accidental falls
  • Assault
  • Automobile/motorcycle/bicycle accidents
  • Sports injuries

Older adults are more likely to develop ICH from mild head trauma, especially if they are taking anticoagulant or anti-platelet drugs.

What Are the Symptoms of Intracranial Hemorrhage?

It is important to be examined following a head injury, even if there are no outward signs of damage (such as a bruise) or any immediate symptoms. In fact, symptoms may take several weeks or longer to develop with patients initially appearing fine (a period known as the lucid interval). Over time, however, pressure on the brain increases, resulting in symptoms that include:

  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Drowsiness or gradual loss of consciousness
  • Increasing blood pressure
  • Increasing headaches
  • Slurred speech
  • Unequal pupils
  • Vomiting

As pressure continues to increase, additional symptoms may appear, including:

  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Note: If you suspect an ICH, seek immediate medical attention.

How Is an Intracranial Hemorrhage Treated?

ICH often requires surgery to be effectively treated. The type of surgery is dependent on the kind of hematoma the patient sustains. Surgical options include:

  • Drainage: As long as the blood remains in one general area and isn’t excessively clotting, a physician may create a hole in the skull and suction the blood out
  • Craniotomy: For large hematomas, a section of skull may be opened to remove the blood

The Leaders in Advanced Care

At IGEA Brain & Spine, our surgeons are extensively trained in effectively treating ICH and other similar disorders. Our surgeons utilize only the most advanced surgical techniques as part of their commitment to superior care for patients living with brain, spine and neuroendovascular conditions.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today: