An intracranial hemorrhage is bleeding inside the skull, or cranium. (When bleeding occurs inside the brain, it is known as a cerebral hemorrhage.) As blood from an intracranial hemorrhage begins to collect inside the skull, it puts pressure on the brain, which can cause rapid brain damage or death. The blood also irritates nearby brain tissue, causing inflammation and swelling (cerebral edema).
Call 9-1-1 if you experience symptoms of intracranial hemorrhage. Trusted neurological care is available at Dignity Health, including brain hemorrhage treatment in Arizona. Our Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s location has been named a top neurological hospital by US News and World Report.
Intracranial Hemorrhage Treatment at Dignity Health
Intracranial hemorrhages are life-threatening emergencies that must be treated quickly to save your life and limit damage to nearby brain tissue. Our doctors determine treatment based on the severity of the bleeding and the damage it could cause.
The first goal of treatment for an intracranial hemorrhage is to stop or control the bleeding, to reduce the amount of brain tissue that may be damaged, and to ensure the rest of the brain gets enough blood.
Once an intracranial hemorrhage has been diagnosed, treatment options are:
- Surgery to relieve pressure in or on the brain by making an opening in the skull, which provides space for swelling
- Vitamin K, which encourages blood clotting
- Blood or platelet transfusions
- Medications that help blood clot
If the bleeding is caused by a ruptured artery, known as an aneurysm, a neurosurgeon may perform a procedure called aneurysm clipping or an endovascular repair to stop or prevent further bleeding. Aneurysm clipping involves making an incision into the skull to access the aneurysm. Endovascular repair of an intracranial or cerebral aneurysm is a catheter-based procedure and less invasive than aneurysm clipping.
For endovascular repair, the surgeon guides a very thin catheter through a blood vessel in your groin up to the aneurysm. Tiny metal wires are coiled into the aneurysm to fill it up. Aneurysm coiling is another name for the procedure. Blood clots form around the wires, preventing the aneurysm from bleeding.
Intracranial Hemorrhage Prevention
An intracranial hemorrhage may not always be preventable, but if you have certain risk factors, you can take steps to reduce your risk:
- If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to keep it under control, which helps reduce the pressure on the blood vessels in and around your brain.
- Avoid smoking and using illegal drugs, such as cocaine, which increase your risk of brain bleeds.
- If you’re taking blood-thinning medication, talk to your doctor to ensure you’re maintaining healthy blood levels and that your blood clots within the acceptable range of time.
- Wear a safety-certified helmet when participating in activities that could result in a head injury.
- Take proper precautions where a fall is possible, such as when climbing ladders or washing windows, to avoid potential head trauma.
Dignity Health provides expert intracranial hemorrhage treatment in Arizona.