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Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a serious, life-threatening type of stroke that occurs due to bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissue that cover the brain (subarachnoid space). The subarachnoid space is filled with cerebrospinal fluid and protects our brain from serious injuries by serving as a cushion. Any kind of hemorrhage in this space can cause coma, paralysis, and even death.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs more commonly than intracerebral hemorrhage but has a better survival rate of the patient.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Causes of Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Subarachnoid hemorrhage can be caused due to different reasons such as:

  • Congenital berry aneurysm
  • Brain trauma or injury
  • Bleeding from an arteriovenous malformation or from a cerebral aneurysm
  • Use of blood thinner
  • Unknown causes

Symptoms of Subarachnoid hemorrhage

The symptoms (mainly headache) generally appear after a snapping or popping sensation in the head. Afterward, patient complaints of following:

  • A severe and sudden headache
  • Neck pain & stiffness
  • Pain in shoulder
  • Rapid decrease of consciousness and alertness
  • Seizure
  • Numbness throughout your body
  • Confusion & irritability
  • Vision problems like double vision, blind spots or temporary vision loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Photosensitivity
  • Muscle aches
  • Eyelid drooping

Diagnosis of Subarachnoid hemorrhage

The symptoms of SAH appear very suddenly and patient quickly becomes unconscious. In such a condition, diagnosis of SAH is made with following:

  • Physical examination of the patient
  • Complete history from patient if he is conscious or from some other person
  • Neurological examination (if possible)
  • A head CT
  • Cerebral angiography
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound
  • MRI
  • MRA
  • CT scan angiography


Authored By Dr. Manish Vaish

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