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Intracranial Hemorrhage

An intracranial hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing sudden bleeding within the skull. If not treated immediately, the buildup of blood and pressure can destroy tissues in and around the brain and cause long-term damage or even death.

Common causes of intracranial hemorrhage include a bulging blood vessel (aneurysm) that ruptures and trauma that causes injury to the brain, such as from an accident. High blood pressure can also sometimes play a role. But the cause cannot always be determined.

Symptoms of an intracranial hemorrhage usually develop suddenly and become progressively worse within minutes to hours. Symptoms often include headache, nausea and vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Other symptoms, which depend upon the part of the brain affected, may include paralysis, vertigo, numbness, inability to speak (aphasia), or trouble speaking or understanding speech.

Last Revised: September 1, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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