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Quick Facts

Intracerebral Hemorrhage


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Sep 2021| Content last modified Sep 2021
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What is an intracerebral hemorrhage?

"Intra" means within. The cerebrum is your brain. Hemorrhage is bleeding. So intracerebral hemorrhage is bleeding inside your brain. An intracerebral hemorrhage is a medical emergency that often causes permanent brain damage or death. Intracerebral hemorrhage caused by anything other than injury is considered a type of stroke Stroke A stroke is a sudden brain problem that happens when a blood vessel in your brain either gets blocked or breaks open and bleeds. Part of your brain stops getting blood. Brain tissue that doesn't... read more .

People who have any symptom of an intracerebral hemorrhage should go to an emergency department immediately.

What causes an intracerebral hemorrhage?

An intracerebral hemorrhage is caused by a blood vessel bursting in your brain.

Less common causes are:

  • Using cocaine or amphetamines (uppers)

  • Being born with abnormal blood vessels in your brain

  • Severe head injury

  • Brain tumor

  • Using too much blood thinning medicine

What are the symptoms of an intracerebral hemorrhage?

Symptoms of an intracerebral hemorrhage start suddenly. You usually get a very bad headache, often while being active. Older people may not have a headache or only a mild one. Other common symptoms are:

  • Weakness or numbness on one side of your body

  • Trouble speaking

  • Confusion

  • Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up

  • Seizures

  • Passing out

An intracerebral hemorrhage is so serious that about half of people who have it die in the first few days. Most survivors have long-lasting brain damage.

How will my doctor know if I had an intracerebral hemorrhage?

How do doctors treat an intracerebral hemorrhage?

Doctors will admit you to the hospital and treat the problems that caused your bleeding. They'll have you stay in bed and stop taking any medicines that could make your bleeding worse. You also may get:

  • Medicine to relieve your headache and any seizures you may have

  • Medicine and fluids to keep your blood pressure at the right level

  • If you were taking blood thinners, you may get medicine to help your blood clot and stop the bleeding

  • Sometimes, surgery to remove the extra blood and relieve pressure within the skull

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