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​Intracerebral Hemorrhage

What is Intracerebral Hemorrhage?

Intracerebral hemorrhage is bleeding in the brain caused by a rupture or leak of a blood vessel within the head. This causes:

  • Swelling
  • Increased pressure within the skull
  • Rapid destruction of tissue

The result is a loss or impairment of the body functions controlled by the affected part of the brain.

What causes intracerebral hemorrhages?

Intracerebral hemorrhage is often caused by damage to blood vessel walls from high blood pressure. Other causes include:

There are several types of treatment options for intracerebral hemorrhage. When possible, the preferred surgical treatment at UPMC for intracerebral hemorrhages is Neuroendoport® surgery, which provides access to the affected area of the brain through a dime-size channel. This minimally invasive approach offers benefits such as:

  • Minimal scarring
  • Fewer side effects and complications
  • Faster recovery time

Diagnosing Intracerebral Hemorrhages

Symptoms of intracerebral hemorrhage

Your doctor will also ask you about your symptoms. These may include:

  • Severe headache, which may worsen with positional changes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in consciousness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Stiffness in the neck muscles
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling, paralysis
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech

Imaging and radiology tests for diagnosing intracerebral hemorrhage

Intracerebral hemorrhages can be diagnosed by imaging studies such as CT scans.

Intracerebral Hemorrhage Treatments

Treatment for intracerebral hemorrhage depends on:

  • The location, extent, and duration of bleeding
  • The general condition of the person

Neuroendoport® surgery

Surgery may be required to drain the affected area of blood buildup or to repair the source of bleeding, such as an arteriovenous malformation or aneurysm.

At UPMC, Neuroendoport surgery is the preferred surgical approach for intracerebral hemorrhages within the white matter of the brain (intraparenchymal hematomas).

This minimally invasive technique allows doctors to access and drain the area through a tiny incision in the scalp, in contrast to traditional surgery.

UPMC's neurosurgeons may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to treating intracerebral hemorrhages.


Treatment with drugs that promote clotting can reduce the progression of hematomas if given within four hours of the onset of bleeding. Medications also may be given to reduce blood pressure and to treat multiple symptoms of the hemorrhage, including headache, fever, and seizure.