Brain hemorrhage treatment

Older man at party after recovering from hemorrhage at The Christ Hospital.

​Immediate treatment for brain hemorrhage is essential to reduce the risk of permanent brain damage or even death. The main goal is to stop the bleeding in the brain and prevent further symptoms due to brain compression from the hemorrhage. Emergency medicine doctors, intensivist and experienced neurosurgeons at The Christ Hospital Health Network work as a team to provide expert treatment for brain hemorrhage.

Treatment for brain hemorrhage 

Treatment for brain hemorrhage depends on the cause and severity of the hemorrhage and the patient's condition. 

Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Supportive care in the intensive care unit

  • Monitoring and strict regulation of blood pressure

  • Monitoring of breathing status and sometimes mechanical ventilation (a machine that helps people breathe when they can’t breathe on their own)

Surgical treatment options may include:

  • Burr hole— a neurosurgeon makes a small hole in the skull to relieve pressure on the brain if blood from the brain hemorrhage builds up and starts to compress brain tissue. 

  • Craniotomy—is surgical removal of a section of the skull bone to access the brain for surgery. Neurosurgeons may use craniotomy for a variety of reasons to: 

  • Clip or repair an aneurysm using a metal clip to close the blood vessel

  • Remove blood or blood clots from a leaking blood vessel

  • Remove an arteriovenous malformation (AVM)—an abnormal mass of blood vessels 

  • External ventricular drain (EVD)—a small tube (catheter) is placed into the ventricles (cavities) of the brain to decompress the cerebrospinal fluid and relieve brain pressure.

  • Hemicranioectomy—surgical removal of a larger portion of the brain to allow for brain swelling and healing after a large stroke. A piece of the skull is removed and left off to allow the brain time to heal. The skin is closed over top of the brain. Once the brain has had time to heal (several weeks or months) the skull is then replaced.

Post-surgical treatment for brain hemorrhage

After surgery, you may require additional therapies that include:

  • Inpatient rehabilitation—provides a caring, supportive environment that emphasizes abilities instead of disabilities. This helps patients who find it hard to adjust to major lifestyle changes that often go beyond physical limitations.

  • Outpatient Physical & Occupational Therapy Centers—therapists work closely with patients to develop a comprehensive treatment program.

Risk factor modification—addresses any risk factors that resulted in brain hemorrhage. Risk factors include:

  • Alcohol abuse

  • Being overweight

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Smoking

  • Medications—prescribe medicines including painkillers, corticosteroids or even diuretics to control and reduce swelling in the brain. Some patients also receive anticonvulsants to reduce the risk of seizures.

Recovery from brain hemorrhage

Recovery from a brain hemorrhage is a slow process. Side effects depend on the extent of hemorrhage. Patients with moderate and severe brain bleeding who have had surgery often need weeks or months to fully recover. 

Factors that determine how well a person will recover are the amount of tissue affected by the bleeding and the location of the bleeding in the brain.

Get more information about brain hemorrhage care at The Christ Hospital Health Network.