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An intracranial hemorrhage is bleeding inside the skull (cranium). The pooling of blood puts pressure on the brain, which can lead to rapid brain damage or death. Intracranial hemorrhages are life-threatening medical emergencies that require immediate treatment, so call 9-1-1 if you experience symptoms.
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The signs and symptoms of an intracranial hemorrhage usually come on abruptly. The most common sign is a sudden and severe headache, although this may not always occur, particularly among older people. Other intracranial hemorrhage signs and symptoms are:
Call 911 immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of an intracranial hemorrhage.
An intracranial hemorrhage occurs when an artery inside the skull leaks or ruptures. Bleeding in or around the brain called a cerebral (brain) hemorrhage.
The main causes of intracranial hemorrhage are:
Less common causes of intracranial hemorrhage include bleeding disorders (particularly those that require blood-thinning medication), abnormal arteries or veins, smoking, and use of illegal drugs such as cocaine.
Treatment of intracranial hemorrhage focuses on stopping the bleeding and reducing brain damage. Our doctors may perform surgery to relieve pressure on the brain or repair the rupture. We often give blood transfusions and medication to improve blood clotting.
Those who survive an intracranial hemorrhage may require rehabilitation if permanent damage has occurred. The faster you get treatment, the better your chances are for a positive recovery.
Prevention of intracranial hemorrhage depends on the cause. While not all factors can be controlled, you can work with your doctor to reduce your risk by taking these steps.