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Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH)


CT scan of an intracranial hemorrhage

An intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is an emergency situation in which blood suddenly bursts into brain tissue, causing bleeding and damage inside the brain.


High blood pressure is the most common cause of ICH. In younger people, another common cause is abnormally formed blood vessels in the brain. Other causes can include:

  • Head trauma
  • Ruptured cerebral aneurysm
  • Arteriorvenous malformation
  • Blood thinners
  • Bleeding Tumors
  • Use of cocaine or methamphetamine
  • Bleeding disorders like hemophilia or sickle cell anemia


Symptoms usually appear suddenly the onslaught of ICH, and include severe headache, weakness, confusion, loss of balance, and paralysis (typically on one side of the body).


Emergency treatment is needed for cerebral hemorrhage and depends on the amount of blood and the extent of brain injury that has occurred. Because the most common cause of ICH is related to high blood pressure, getting your blood pressure lowered and under control is the first key step as well as close monitoring in an intensive care unit. Surgery is sometimes needed to relieve pressure from the accumulation of blood and to repair damaged blood vessels.

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