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A hemorrhagic stroke is a form of stroke that results from an artery in the brain leaking or bursting. There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes: subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Subarachnoid bleeding occurs when arterial bleeding occurs between the brain and the

In contrast, intracerebral hemorrhage is when blood flow from a ruptured artery spills into the brain. Either way, hemorrhagic strokes can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.

What Happens Inside the Brain After a Hemorrhagic Stroke?

Brain suffering a stroke

When an artery hemorrhages, or bursts, it is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. These strokes happen when blood from the leak pools around the brain and causes bleeding in the surrounding tissue. Blood vessels can also rupture, causing ischemia and reduced blood flow to the brain.

If blood flow to the brain is blocked by bleeding inside an artery, ischemic strokes may result. A hemorrhagic stroke must be treated immediately by a physician to avert additional damage and death.

How is a Hemorrhagic Stroke Diagnosed?

An MRI, CT scan or blood test determines if a person has had a hemorrhagic stroke. Diagnosis of a hemorrhagic stroke is with a combination of methods. Patients describe their symptoms, and if bleeding is suspected, medical imaging tests help assess the seriousness of the injury.

How Do Hemorrhagic Strokes Affect the Body?

Diagnosis of hemorrhagic strokes is through testing of symptoms and blood tests. However, hemorrhagic strokes are typically life-threatening because there is little time to spare after symptoms occur. Medical professionals use sophisticated equipment to quickly identify hemorrhaging arteries and repair them before the hemorrhage causes further damage during surgery. Hemorrhagic strokes can affect the body by causing hemorrhaging in the brain, ischemia, and reduced blood flow.

 What are the outcomes?

Hemorrhagic strokes are life-threatening because they can result in hemorrhaging, which reduces blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke treatment procedures are also invasive and may require surgery, clot removal or medication.

The patient may die immediately due to hemorrhaging before initiating hemorrhagic stroke treatment procedures. Survival depends on how fast the diagnosis takes place. Quick diagnosis may prevent further damage or death.

The patient will live with a range of disabilities depending on the amount of bleeding, location, and severity. The more severe the hemorrhaging, the more likely hemorrhagic stroke will be fatal or result in ongoing disabilities.

What Percentage of Hemorrhagic Strokes are Fatal?

25-50% of hemorrhagic strokes are fatal or result in ongoing disabilities.

What is the Prognosis for a Patient Diagnosed with Hemorrhagic Stroke?

Depending on the symptoms, diagnosis testing, bleeding location, and hemorrhage severity, patients who have had a hemorrhagic stroke may have different outcomes. Depending on the bleeding site, many people with a hemorrhagic stroke will experience disabilities such as movement and memory restrictions.

What Causes Hemorrhagic Hemorrhages?

 High blood pressure is the most common cause of bleeding. High blood pressure can make the walls of veins and arteries weak and rupture. Other causes of hemorrhagic bleeding can include chronic illness, congenital disabilities, taking medicines that thin the blood, using drugs, or having a head injury.

Risk Factors of Hemorrhagic Strokes

Risk Factors

Several risk factors can lead to a person suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. These include

1) Advanced age,

2) Past hemorrhagic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke,

3) Family history of hemorrhagic strokes, and

4) High blood pressure. Patients should make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of hemorrhagic strokes, such as quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

Types of Hemorrhagic Strokes

There are two types of hemorrhagic hemorrhage:

1) Intracerebral hemorrhage- bleeding in the brain causing damage to the surrounding tissue. Blood may collect within the skull and cause increased pressure in the head. An intracerebral hemorrhage may take a few minutes or several hours to develop.

2) Subarachnoid hemorrhage- Bleeding occurs between the skull and the brain. Subarachnoid hemorrhages may cause severe headaches that last from a few seconds to a few hours, plus nausea, vomiting, and confusion.

Treatment for Hemorrhagic Strokes

Immediate treatment is required to save the life of a hemorrhagic stroke patient. A hemorrhagic patient will be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) and might require surgery, clot removal, or medication.

Treatment for high blood pressure as a secondary problem is likely. The underlying condition that causes the bleeding will determine the treatment options for other types of hemorrhagic bleeds. The type of hemorrhagic hemorrhage you have determines how severe and invasive your treatment choices are.

A hemorrhagic stroke is a devastating neurological problem when an arterial wall breaks open, causing blood to pool in the surrounding brain tissue.

Prevention of Hemorrhagic Strokes

Maintaining good health and preventing underlying diseases leading to hemorrhagic bleeding is critical by avoiding smoking and lowering high blood pressure. It is vital to make frequent checkup visits with the doctor to preserve excellent health and avoid potential sources of bleeding Healthy living is the key to the prevention of hemorrhagic hemorrhages.

Hemorrhagic strokes can happen to anyone and may cause lifelong disabilities. It is essential to avoid things that increase your risk for a hemorrhagic hemorrhage and live a healthy lifestyle.



Hemorrhagic strokes are not the most frequent type of stroke, but they are the most harmful. They account for 5-20% of all strokes and are responsible for most stroke deaths. Hemorrhagic strokes may be deadly if left untreated, yet even those who survive may face an increased chance of neurological problems.

The most straightforward approach to avoiding hemorrhagic bleeding is to live a healthy lifestyle by avoiding high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and excessive drinking.

Additional Resources

The American Stroke Association article on hemorrhagic strokes.

Heathline explains the symptoms, causes and treatments of hemorrhagic strokes.

About the Author

Sybille Bergin PT is a certified physiotherapist and one of the owners of Bergin Motion. Bergin Motion is a family-run Barrie Physiotherapy Clinic located in Barrie’s Southend. Sybille has been providing in-home physiotherapy for over 30 years. She specializes in treating acquired brain injuries, stroke recovery, and other related ailments. Sybille is a certified NDT practitioner. Neuro Development Therapy is a specialized hands-on treatment technique that promotes mobility, balance, core strength, and gross motor skills in a playful, fun, and dynamic way. Sybille leads a team of dedicated professionals providing first-class therapy at Bergin Motion to Barrie Ontario and surrounding areas.

About Bergin Motion

Barrie Ontario Physiotherapy

Bergin Motion is a Barrie Physiotherapy Clinic. Bergin Motion offers physiotherapy in Barrie to clients with a wide range of conditions.

The clinic in Barrie specializes in orthopedic, neurological, and pelvic health disciplines.

Bergin Motion treats clients both at their clinic and in the comfort of their own home if they cannot travel to the clinic.

Located in the south end of Barrie, Ontario, the physio clinic boasts 9000 sq. ft., with seven treatment rooms and a fully equipped gym.