Hemorrhagic Stroke

Hemorrhagic stroke is the result of a blood vessel rupturing and releasing blood into the brain, causing swelling and pressure that damages or kills brain cells. Hemorrhagic stroke is less common than ischemic stroke, but accounts for almost half of all stroke deaths.

There are two types of hemorrhagic stroke:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage – bleeding into the brain, often caused by high blood pressure or vascular malformations of the brain
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage – bleeding around the brain, often caused by an aneurysm

If you or a loved one notices signs of a stroke, call 911 and go to the nearest stroke center in an ambulance. All strokes are medical emergencies. Once you’re stabilized, you may be transferred to a higher-level stroke center such as UT Southwestern for further treatment.

While immediate medical attention is critical, some hemorrhagic stroke patients have as long as 48 to 72 hours when they can still benefit from treatment.

The UT Southwestern Difference

UT Southwestern offers every option available for patients experiencing, or who have experienced, a hemorrhagic stroke as well as for those at risk for this type of stroke, such as people who have a brain aneurysm.

Neurological surgeons at UT Southwestern have performed more than 2,500 pre-emptive surgeries over the last decade to prevent aneurysm-induced stroke. Our team is among the most experienced in the United States with these types of neurosurgical procedures, performing about 250 each year. This is about 15 times more than the baseline requirement for comprehensive stroke centers.

UT Southwestern is the only Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in North Texas certified by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Studies consistently show that patients treated at designated stroke centers have lower rates of mortality and morbidity – and better outcomes – than those treated elsewhere.

Diagnosis

A person having a hemorrhagic stroke may experience a range of symptoms that develop suddenly, appear during activity, or come and go.

Symptoms like drowsiness, confusion, headache, abnormal eye movements, seizures, and others will help doctors diagnose a hemorrhagic stroke, but brain imaging is the only way to confirm it.

UT Southwestern offers every neurodiagnostic imaging option to identify a stroke, including:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan and computed tomography angiography (CTA)
  • Arteriography
  • Cerebral angiogram
  • Carotid ultrasonography
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Transcranial Doppler ­– an advanced method of diagnosis that’s not available everywhere. We use this ultrasound technology to examine blood flow in the brain to help locate the blockage causing the ischemic stroke.

Treatment

Treatment of a hemorrhagic stroke depends on the cause of the bleeding, which can include head trauma, high blood pressure, ruptured aneurysm, treatment with blood thinners, and arteriovenous malformation (AVM). The first step in treatment is to quickly determine the cause and reduce the pressure caused by the bleeding. Prompt medical treatment can minimize damage to the brain.

UT Southwestern offers endovascular procedures and surgical treatments to prevent or treat the causes of hemorrhagic stroke. 

Endovascular treatment involves the use of a catheter that enters the body through the groin to access the brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Our neurosurgeons or neurointerventional radiologists thread a tiny platinum coil through the catheter and deploy it into the aneurysm, blocking blood flow into the AVM and preventing rupture or re-rupture.

We may recommend a surgical procedure to prevent or stop bleeding or to reduce pressure inside the skull. If an aneurysm is the cause or potential cause of the stroke, we may clip it at the base to prevent bleeding before a stroke or to prevent re-bleeding. The availability of both surgical and endovascular options is crucial to give patients the best chance at a successful long-term outcome.

Stroke Rehabilitation

What happens after a stroke depends on the magnitude of the stroke and its impact on your body, which can range from mild to severe. UT Southwestern offers a stroke rehabilitation unit dedicated to helping patients regain as much function as possible, as well as managing the permanent impact of a stroke.

Our therapists will assist patients who may have problems moving their arms or legs, problems speaking or understanding language (aphasia), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), and other effects of stroke.

Request an Appointment

If you or a loved one notices signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately and go to the nearest stroke center in an ambulance.

If you’re taken to a hospital other than UT Southwestern, depending on the complexity of your stroke, you may be transferred to our hospital. You and your family can also request that you be moved to UT Southwestern.

For an assessment after a stroke or medical care to prevent a stroke, please see one of our hemorrhagic stroke specialists at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas. To schedule an appointment, or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.