Intracerebral hemorrhage is bleeding in the brain caused by a rupture or leak of a blood vessel within the head. This causes swelling, increased pressure within the skull, and rapid destruction of tissue. The result is a loss or impairment of the body functions controlled by the affected part of the brain. Intracerebral hemorrhage is often caused by damage to blood vessel walls from high blood pressure. Other causes include the rupture of an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation, as well as head trauma.
When possible, the preferred surgical treatment at UPMC for intracerebral hemorrhage is Neuroendoport® Surgery, which provides access to the affected area of the brain through a dime-size channel. This minimally invasive approach offers the benefits of minimal scarring, fewer side effects and complications, and faster recovery times.
Intracerebral hemorrhages can be diagnosed by imaging studies such as CT scans.
Your physician will also ask you about your symptoms. These may include:
- severe headache, which may worsen with positional changes
- nausea or vomiting
- changes in consciousness
- visual disturbances
- stiffness in the neck muscles
- weakness, numbness or tingling, paralysis
- difficulty speaking or understanding speech
Treatment for intracerebral hemorrhage depends on the location, extent, and duration of bleeding, as well as the general condition of the patient.
Surgery may be required to drain the affected area of blood buildup or to repair the source of bleeding, such as an arteriovenous malformation or aneurysm.
At UPMC, Neuroendoport® Surgery is the preferred surgical approach for intracerebral hemorrhages within the white matter of the brain (intraparenchymal hematomas). This minimally invasive technique allows surgeons to access and drain the area through a tiny incision in the scalp, in contrast to traditional surgery.
At UPMC, we take a 360° Approach to treatment when evaluating each patient—looking at their conditions from every direction—to find the path that is least disruptive to the patient's brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning. Our neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to maximize the benefits of surgery while minimizing risks.
Treatment with drugs that promote clotting can reduce the progression of hematomas if given within four hours of the onset of bleeding. Medications also may be given to reduce blood pressure and to treat the symptoms of the hemorrhage, such as headache, fever and seizure.