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Intracerebral Hemorrhage

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Intracerebral Hemorrhage, Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage, Spontaneous Intracranial Hemorrhage, ICH, Cerebral Parenchymal Hemorrhage, Cerebral Intraparenchymal Hemorrhage

  • Background
  1. Refers to Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage
  2. Trauma also causes Intracerebral Hemorrhage
  • Epidemiology
  1. Responsible for up to 6 to 20% of strokes in United States
  • Pathophysiology
  1. Associated with small vessel Cerebrovascular Disease
  2. Most commonly affects the Basal Ganglia and Thalamus
  1. Background
    1. Primary Intraparenchymal Hemorrhage Accounts for 90% of cases
    2. Results from damaged small blood vessels due to Hypertension or Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA)
    3. Damaged vessels are more prone to rupture which results in Intraparenchymal Hemorrhage
  2. Hypertension
    1. Most common cause in adults with Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage
    2. Hypertension results in degenerative changes in small perforating arteries
    3. Typically affects Basal Ganglia, Thalamus, Brainstem, Cerebellum
  3. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA)
    1. Most common cause of non-Traumatic lobar Intracerebral Hemorrhage in older patients
    2. Beta amyloid accumulates in cortical blood vessels resulting in vascular weakening
    3. Typically affects lobar regions
  1. Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)
    1. Most common cause of Intracerebral Hemorrhage in children
  2. Hemorrhagic conversion of Ischemic Stroke
  3. Septic cerebral embolism
  4. Intracranial Mass
  5. Anticoagulants or Thrombolytics
  6. Coagulopathy
  7. Cerebral Venous Thrombosis
  8. Encephalitis (e.g. HSV Encephalitis)
  9. Stimulant Drugs of Abuse (e.g. Cocaine, Methamphetamine)
  10. MoyaMoya
  11. Mycotic aneurysm rupture
  12. Vasculitis
  • Risk Factors
  1. Tobacco Smoking
  2. Strenuous activity
  3. Oral Anticoagulants (especially Warfarin)
  4. Hypertension
  5. Heavy Alcohol use (>30 drinks/month or binge drinking)
  6. Increasing age
    1. Risk doubles every 10 years after age 35 years
  • Symptoms
  1. Severe Headache
  2. Vomiting
  3. Decreased Level of Consciousness
    1. Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) <=12 in 60% of presentations
    2. Deterioration occurs in transport or with emergency department in 50% of patients
  • Signs
  1. Focal and gradually progressive presentation of neurologic deficits developing over minutes to hours
  2. Hemiplegia
  3. Aphasia
  • Imaging
  1. CT Head
  2. CTA Head and Neck
    1. Spot Sign (extravasation of contrast in an expanding Hematoma)
  3. Consider CT Venogram
  4. Consider MRI in stable patients
  • Precautions
  1. Cerebellar bleeding can rapidly deteriorate
  • Management
  • General
  1. Similar overall management as for Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH)
    1. Exceptions include aneurysm specific management and Blood Pressure targets
  2. ABC Management
    1. Endotracheal Intubation is frequently needed due to decreased GCS, aspiration risk
  3. Correct coagulation deficits
    1. See Emergent Reversal of Anticoagulation
  4. Blood Pressure Management
    1. Opioid Analgesics for Headache may help to control Blood Pressure
    2. Blood Pressure target in ICH appears to be <180 mmHg (instead of <140 target used for SAH)
    3. Control Blood Pressure while still maintaining Cerebral Perfusion Pressure
    4. Labetalol, Clevidipine and Nicardipine are most often used to control Blood Pressure
    5. Qureshi (2016) N Engl J Med 375(11):1033-43 [PubMed]
  5. Manage Seizures
    1. See Status Epilepticus
    2. Routine Seizure Prophylaxis is not recommended unless Seizure occurs
  6. Early Neurosurgery Consultation
    1. Ventricular drainage indications
      1. Hydrocephalus
    2. Surgical drainage indications
      1. Hydrocephalus
      2. Increasing intraparenchymal Hemorrhage
      3. Clinical worsening
    3. Craniectomy indications
      1. Coma
      2. Large intracerebral Hematoma with midline shift
      3. Refractory high Intracranial Pressure
    4. Secondary lesion indications for neurosurgical intervention
      1. Hemorrhagic Brain Tumor
      2. Arteriovenous Malformation or fistula
      3. Cavernous malformation
      4. Distal or Mycotic aneurysm
      5. Moyamoya
  7. Disposition
    1. Admit to Intensive Care unit or dedicated stroke unit
  1. Expect Traumatic intraparenchymal Hemorrhage to stabilize within first 48 hours
  2. Neurosurgical decompression indications
    1. Neurologic deterioration or GCS <8
    2. Contusion volume >50 ml
    3. Frontal or temporal Contusion >20 ml
    4. Midline shift >5 mm
    5. Loss of subarachnoid space (basal cistern effacement)
    6. Bullock (2006) Neurosurgery 58(3 Suppl): S25-46 [PubMed]
  • Prognosis
  1. Higher mortality with decreasing alertness on presentation
  2. One year survival: 40%
  • References
  1. Dreis (2020) Crit Dec Emerg Med 34(7):3-21
  2. Burgess and Stowens (2014) Crit Dec Emerg Med 28(5): 2-13
  3. Kreutzer and Maldonado (2022) Crit Dec Emerg Med 36(7): 16-7
  4. Rordorf and McDonald in Kasner (2014) Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage, Uptodate, accessed 5/8/2014
  5. Gross (2019) JAMA 321(13): 1295-303 [PubMed]