Hemorrhagic Stroke

Also known as: intracerebral hemorrhage.

What is hemorrhagic stroke?

Hemorrhage means bleeding. Bleeding into the brain occurs after either a clot forms in a vessel carrying blood to it (arterial blockage-called ischemic stroke) or a brain blood vessel breaks (hemorrhagic stroke) because of an abnormality or disease of the blood vessel.

Bleeding into the brain results in less oxygen carrying blood reaching the brain tissues which may cause significant damage to the brain.

What causes hemorrhagic stroke?

There are a number of causes.

One is an aneurysm, which occurs when a blood vessel becomes enlarged (balloons) due to a weak vessel wall. Ultimately, it may leak or burst (rupture).

A second cause is an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which is a mass of abnormally formed blood vessels which can break and bleed.

Other causes of hemorrhagic stroke include; small blood vessels in the brain being damaged by diseases (like infection, trauma and others) or abnormalities of blood clotting (either congenital or secondary to other disorders) which may result in an increased bleeding tendency. In about on third of children, no cause for the bleeding may be found.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhagic stroke?

A hemorrhagic stroke may cause severe symptoms (many children however recover more abilities than adults do). These include weakness and numbness on one side of the body, dizziness, seizures, speech and swallowing problems, confusion, loss of emotional control and mood/personality changes, nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of consciousness, seizures and other symptoms (e.g. bulging of the fontanelle in newborn or infants).  

What are hemorrhagic stroke care options?

Stroke is a medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital. Treatment is focused on stopping the bleeding, treating the symptoms, and providing long term rehabilitation services to enhance the chances of full recovery.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: October 07, 2020 03:28 PM

Learn more about

Ischemic Stroke

“Ischemia” is the lack of blood supply to an organ resulting in not enough oxygen being delivered to meet the needs of the organ to function normally. When this happens to the blood supply of the brain it's called an “ischemic stroke”. Learn more

Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are defects of the circulatory system that are thought to arise during embryonic or fetal development or soon after birth. Learn more