Brain bleeds, also known as intracranial hemorrhage, occur when a ruptured blood vessel leaks blood into the brain. Several conditions including ruptured aneurysm, stroke, as well as intracranial bleeding caused by traumatic brain injury fall under the umbrella of intracranial hemorrhages.
All brain bleeds are considered medical emergencies. If you exhibit symptoms of a brain bleed, you should seek immediate medical attention at your nearest emergency room.
With separate areas of the brain controlling different abilities such as movement, speech, and memory the symptoms of brain bleeds can vary depending on where in the brain the hemorrhaging occurred. Symptoms may also differ depending on whether the hemorrhage occurred within the brain tissue or between the brain tissue and the skull.
Broadly speaking, people suffering from brain bleeds can experience:
- Stroke: Including weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Vision Loss: Change in vision or blindness in one eye
- Headache: Sudden or severe headaches are a common symptom of a brain bleed.
- Seizure: Caused by electrical bursts in the brain often identified by jerking movements
- Loss of Consciousness: Fainting or suddenly falling asleep
Brain bleeds are diagnosed after testing by a healthcare professional. People experiencing symptoms such as fainting and headaches typically require a referral to a neurologist. Severe symptoms such as stroke, vision loss, and seizure should be taken very seriously as they can be fatal. In these cases, the ER is the best resource for diagnosis and treatment.
Tests that are used to identify a brain bleed include:
- CT Scans (computed tomography scans) – a procedure wherein a machine captures a series of X-rays that are then compiled into a 3-D view of internal tissues and blood vessels.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – a technique that uses medical equipment that generates radio waves to capture images of your brain. MRIs are excellent for viewing soft tissues such as the brain.
- MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram) – MRAs are a type of MRI that provide very detailed images of your blood vessels. This can be very helpful when it comes to identifying blockages as well as weakened walls of your arteries.
Treatment for a brain bleed
Patients suffering from brain bleed symptoms should immediately go to the ER.
Depending on the location and severity of the bleeding, treatment for brain bleeds vary. Symptoms such as high blood pressure and seizures are treated with medication. Small blood clots, also known as hematomas, may be left and monitored, whereas larger or more problematic clots may require surgery.
Surgical procedures may be used to remove blood clots from the skull. Common surgeries include:
- Surgical drainage, a technique that involves drilling a hole in the skull and then draining blood may be used to remove the excess blood.
- Craniotomy, in which a portion of your skull is opened to reach the clotted blood, is another surgical procedure that is often used with brain bleed patients.
After treatment, physical therapy may be recommended in cases where patients need to regain motor skills.
Why Choose NGHS
As a certified Primary Stroke Center with a rapid response stroke team and a complete neurosurgery and neurointerventional surgery team, our team offers the highest quality care to patients suffering from neurological conditions. Our state-of-the-art facilities include specialized neuroscience operating rooms, stroke and neurosurgery inpatient units, as well as a fully equipped neurophysiology lab. Patients experiencing serious conditions such as brain bleeds can rely on NGHS for prompt and expert care.