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Overview of Hemorrhagic Stroke

By Elias A. Giraldo, MD, MS, Drexel University College of Medicine

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Hemorrhagic strokes include bleeding within the brain (intracerebral hemorrhage) and bleeding between the inner and outer layers of the tissue covering the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage).

Most strokes are caused by a blockage of blood flow to part of the brain causing death of brain tissue (ischemia—see Ischemic Stroke). Only about 20% of strokes are caused by hemorrhage. There are two main types of hemorrhagic strokes:

Other disorders that involve bleeding inside the skull include epidural hematomas (see Epidural Hematomas) and subdural hematomas (see Subdural Hematomas), which are usually caused by a head injury. These disorders cause different symptoms and are not considered strokes.

Bursts and Breaks: Causes of Hemorrhagic Stroke

When blood vessels of the brain are weak, abnormal, or under unusual pressure, a hemorrhagic stroke can occur. In hemorrhagic strokes, bleeding may occur within the brain, as an intracerebral hemorrhage. Or bleeding may occur between the inner and middle layer of tissue covering the brain (in the subarachnoid space), as a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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