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Hemorrhagi​c Stroke Types, Causes, and Treatments

Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel breaks and blood leaks or spills into the brain tissue. As a result, brain cells in the affected area die. There are four types of hemorrhagic stroke that commonly occur.

Types of Hemorrhagic Stroke

Intracerebral hemorrhage

A small artery in the brain can break and spill blood into nearby brain tissue. Brain cells in the area are destroyed. This stroke is called an intracerebral hemorrhage, or “ICH” for short. High blood pressure is usually the cause of this type of stroke.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

A large artery in the brain may become weak. It may stretch out, like a balloon filling with water. The “balloon” is called an aneurysm. The aneurysm may break, spilling blood into the space between the brain tissue and the membrane that covers the brain. This membrane is called the arachnoid membrane. The stroke is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or “SAH” for short.

Arterial venous malformation

Arteries and veins may be tangled, or malformed, at birth. This is called “AVM,” or arterial venous malformation. Over time, an AVM may break apart. How serious the damage is depends on where the AVM is located in the brain.

Cerebral amyloid angiopathy

In the elderly, small blood vessels in the brain may be weakened by deposits of protein. This condition is cerebral amyloid angiopathy, or “CAA.” Frail arteries then may break, and blood leaks into the brain. How serious the damage is depends on the location and amount of bleeding from the breaks.

Hemorrhagic Stroke Causes

Hemorrhagic stroke can be caused by an array of conditions, which may include:

  • Head trauma
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood vessel abnormalities
  • Amyloid angiopathy
  • Blood or bleeding disorders
  • Liver disease
  • Brain tumors

Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment Options

Treatment for hemorrhagic stroke depends on the amount of bleeding in the brain and the location, cause, and extent of the hemorrhage.

You doctor may choose to perform endovascular procedures similar to treatments for an ischemic stroke. These are less invasive than surgical treatments, and involve the use of a catheter to deposit a mechanical agent, such as a coil or clip, to stop the bleeding.

In some cases, surgery may be needed to alleviate swelling and prevent additional bleeding. 

Learn more about treating hemorrhagic stroke through endovascular or surgical approaches. »

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