Brain Haemorrhage - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Brain Haemorrhage Misdiagnosis - Medical Malpractice

A brain haemorrhage can occur within the brain, such as with an arteriovenous malformation or aneurysm or it can occur on the outside of the brain, such as with a subdural haemorrhage or an epidural haemorrhage. The latter two cases are often due to trauma to the brain. Symptoms include a severe headache, seizures, and neurological deficits such as stroke symptoms. About 13 percent of strokes are due to brain haemorrhage. The bleeding in the brain causes the brain to swell so that there is pressure on the brain and further damage. The pressure can be caused by the mass effect of the cerebral haematoma or blood clot or it can be caused by inflammation around the area of bleeding. If the brain bleeds too much, it causes enough swelling to cause a herniation syndrome, which is generally fatal. Herniation syndrome occurs when the brain squeezes through the opening at the base of the brain, cutting off the circulation of the brainstem so the individual quits breathing and dies.

Because the symptoms of a brain haemorrhage can mimic other things, it is often misdiagnosed. Only through the use of imaging techniques, such as a CT scan or MRI scan of the head can bleeding be really found and if not done, a brain haemorrhage can be missed, resulting in the death or disability of the patient.

Risk factors for brain haemorrhage include brain trauma, especially among the youth. The trauma can be a sports trauma, a fall or a motor vehicle accident. In older individuals, risk factors include high blood pressure and having an aneurysm of the brain blood vessels. Haemangiomas and angiomas are something you can be born with that predisposes you to getting brain haemorrhages. Having a blood disorder, like haemophilia or other bleeding disorder can contribute to getting a brain haemorrhage. Even liver disease can affect your bleeding ability so that you can bleed excessively in the brain.

The main symptoms of brain haemorrhage include severe headache, seizures, double vision, nausea or vomiting, weakness or numbness of one side of the body or speech difficulties. Swallowing difficulties can be present and can interfere with eating. You can have a decrease in alertness so that you can go into a coma if the situation is severe. You can have difficulty in writing or reading things. Balance can be affected as can coordination. Which symptoms you get depend on where the haemorrhage is located and on how big the haemorrhage gets.

Brain haemorrhages are very serious so that you need to dial 911 as soon as you get injured and have symptoms similar to those noted above. Even though a brain haemorrhage can mimic other conditions, it is nothing to mess around with and you need medical attention as soon as possible in order to avoid herniation or permanent brain damage.

Tests for a brain haemorrhage are usually a CT scan of the head, which shows blood brightly in the brain. An MRI test is less helpful but can show up areas of mass effect and haemorrhage. A spinal tap can be done to show blood in the cerebrospinal fluid. The part of the brain affected will be discovered and treatment can begin as needed.

Treatment of brain haemorrhages is different, depending on the type and location. If there is a subdural or epidural haemorrhage, a burr hole can be created in the skull to allow the blood to drain out and the pressure to be eased from the brain cavity. Internal bleeding can be treated by lowering the blood pressure to slow bleeding, and to give corticosteroids in order to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the brain material. Clotting factors or perhaps fresh frozen plasma can be given by IV so that the bleeding area clots and doesn't bleed any further. Medications are given to control seizure activity, even if there have yet been no seizures.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here