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If you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 911 and seek medical help immediately. Treatment is available, but only if a stroke is recognized in time.*
*Source: The Internet Stroke Center

Cerebral Hemorrhage Overview

Cerebral hemorrhage is bleeding that occurs within or around the brain tissue. Small arteries bring blood to the brain. If these arteries rupture, blood is released into the brain tissue. The blood forms a clot (hematoma), which can grow and exert pressure on surrounding tissue. As blood enters the brain, the area supplied by the artery is deprived of oxygen-containing blood. This is a stroke. When the bleeding involves a blood vessel in the brain it is known as a hemorrhagic stroke, which is the most deadly type.

The primary cause of cerebral hemorrhage is a diseased or damaged blood vessel in the brain that bursts. This allows blood to leak inside the brain. The sudden increase in pressure can damage brain cells. And a sudden increase in the amount of blood can cause loss of consciousness or even death. Cerebral hemorrhage can occur at all ages, but is more common in adults than in children.

Types of cerebral hemorrhage include:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage—bleeding inside the brain
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage—bleeding between the brain and the membranes that cover the brain
  • Epidural hemorrhage—bleeding between the skull and the covering of the brain

There are several causes of bleeding inside the skull, known generally as intracranial hemorrhage.

  • Head injuries
  • Arteriovenous Malformation, an abnormality of the arteries or veins in or around the brain
  • Aneurysm, a weakening of the blood vessel that can cause a bleed or stroke
  • Poorly controlled high blood pressure over time that can weaken blood vessels and lead to bleeding within the skull
  • Amyloid angiopathy, a buildup of protein on the walls of the arteries of the brain

WellStar neurologists and neurosurgeons are expert at diagnosing and treating cerebral hemorrhage. Our innovative Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery program at Kennestone Hospital offers a state-of-the-art bi-plane angiography suite with 3D imaging and 24/7 care by neurovascular specialty teams.


Symptoms can vary depending on the location and the amount of bleeding. Symptoms, which typically come on suddenly, may include:

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  • Increasing neurologic problems such as numbness, weakness, inability to move (paralysis) loss of speech or vision and confusion
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting or severe nausea, when present with other symptoms
  • Partial or total loss of consciousness

Call 911 if you see or experience any of these symptoms. Treatment can be more effective if it is delivered quickly.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for cerebral hemorrhage include the following:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). If your blood pressure is consistently higher than 135/85 talk with your WellStar physician about treatment options
  • Excessive use of drugs and alcohol
  • Use of blood anti-clotting medication can cause the blood to become too thin, which puts you at risk for cerebral hemorrhage
  • Blood clotting disorders such as hemophilia or sickle cell anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Menopause