HealthWACH: Stopping a stroke

Stopping a stroke


A brain hemorrhage is a stroke that is caused by an artery in the brain that bursts which causes bleeding in tissues around the brain. The effects of the brain lead to damaged brain cells. Brain hemorrhages make up for 13 percent of strokes and can easily take the lives of affected patients. A cerebral edema occurs when blood from a trauma accident irritates brain tissues. This affects the tissue and reduces blood flow in the brain.

Any damage or trauma to the brain can cause a brain hemorrhage. High blood pressure, aneurysms, bleeding disorders, and blood vessel abnormalities are all leading factors of this type of stroke. Patients with high blood pressure suffer from weakened blood vessel walls, which make them susceptible to hemorrhages in the brain. Those who have aneurysms run the risk of it bursting and bleeding into the brain. Bleeding disorders cause decreased levels of blood platelets that can also cause a brain hemorrhage.

Common symptoms of a brain hemorrhage depend on the location of the bleeding in the brain. Emergency attention needs to be brought to a doctor if any of these symptoms exist:

  • Severe headaches

  • Changes in vision

  • Loss of balance

  • Sudden seizures

  • Loss of motor skills

  • Abnormal sense of taste

  • Decreased alertness

  • Loss of consciousness

Dr. Neil Martin from the University of California Los Angeles is working on a new procedure to remove hemorrhages in the brain. He is performing a less invasive way of getting to the hemorrhage, rather than cutting through the skull and brain, which can cause more swelling. The procedure involves a suction catheter that locates the blood clot. This does not require a large incision, just a tract of where the device was inserted. A CT scan is done prior to the procedure to provide a guided way to enter the brain. Then, the 3D images guide surgeons to the clot so it can be safely removed.