What Are the Chances of Surviving Bleeding in the Brain?

Medically Reviewed on 11/17/2022
What Are the Chances of Surviving Bleeding in the Brain
Bleeding in the brain can be life-threatening, and survival rates are low

Bleeding in the brain or brain hemorrhage can be life-threatening, with an estimated 5-year survival rate of about 26.7%. The prognosis depends on the location and severity of the bleeding and the amount of swelling that result from the bleeding.

Brain hemorrhage is a type of stroke (hemorrhagic stroke), resulting from the bursting of arteries in the brain, which can damage brain cells.

What is a brain bleed?

Brain bleeding or intracranial hemorrhage is bleeding between the brain tissue and the skull or within the brain tissue, which can be a serious and life-threatening condition.

The human brain has three membranes or layers called meninges between the bony skull and the brain tissue: dura mater, arachnoid, and pia mater. These meninges cover and protect the brain.

Brain hemorrhages are divided into two basic types:

  • Bleeding within the skull but outside the brain tissue
    • Epidural hemorrhage: Bleeding that occurs between the skull bone and the outermost membrane layer, the dura mater
    • Subdural hemorrhage: Bleeding that occurs between the dura mater and the arachnoid membrane
    • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Bleeding that occurs between the arachnoid and the pia mater
  • Bleeding inside the brain tissue
    • Intracerebral hemorrhage or hemorrhagic stroke: Bleeding in the lobes, pons and cerebellum of the brain
    • Intraventricular hemorrhage: Bleeding in the ventricles, which are areas of the brain where the cerebrospinal fluid is produced

What causes bleeding in the brain?

Brain hemorrhage predominantly results from the irritation of brain tissues, leading to swelling or cerebral palsy.

Swelling increases pressure on the arteries, causing them to burst and create hematomas. This blocks blood flow and deprives oxygen to the affected parts of the brain, eventually damaging and killing brain cells. Hematomas occur when blood collects and turns into a mass that can result in excess pressure and/or swelling in the brain.

The causes of brain hemorrhage may include but are not limited to:


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What are the warning signs of a brain hemorrhage?

Signs and symptoms of brain bleeding may appear suddenly, develop gradually, or worsen with time.

Warning signs and symptoms may vary depending on the extent of the tissue affected and the nature and the location of bleeding. They may include:

How is bleeding in the brain diagnosed?

Apart from symptoms, a diagnosis of brain hemorrhage is based on:

  • Physical examination (to evaluate physical symptoms)
  • Neurological examination (to determine if there is any swelling in the optic nerves)
  • CT scan, MRI, or magnetic resonance angiogram of the brain (to reveal the location and extent of the bleeding)
  • Blood tests, electroencephalogram, urinalysis, and chest X-ray
  • Spinal tap (to analyze the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain)

How is bleeding in the brain treated?

Brain hemorrhages are treated by carefully analyzing the brain using various imaging tests to determine the location of internal bleeding. Prompt diagnosis and medical treatment help limit damage to the brain and improve the chances of recovery.

Treatment options include the following:

  • Medications
    • Antianxiety drugs
    • Anticonvulsants
    • Antihypertensives
    • Painkillers
    • Corticosteroids
    • Diuretics
  • Surgery
    • Surgery may be recommended to control bleeding and alleviate swelling
  • Long-term rehabilitation
    • Physical therapy
    • Speech therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Changing lifestyle habits
  • Preventive measures

What are the potential complications of brain hemorrhages?

Possible complications of bleeding in the brain include:

  • Loss of brain function
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Adverse reactions to medications
  • Death
Medically Reviewed on 11/17/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Brain Bleed, Hemorrhage (Intracranial Hemorrhage). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14480-brain-bleed-hemorrhage-intracranial-hemorrhage

Risk factors impact on the long-term survival after hemorrhagic stroke. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20088175/

Brain Hemorrhage: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments. https://www.webmd.com/brain/brain-hemorrhage-bleeding-causes-symptoms-treatments

Hemorrhagic Stroke. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/hemorrhagic-stroke-a-to-z