Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: When a brain Aneurysm Bleeds
Although most headaches--even severe ones--are due to benign factors, when a headache is due to a bleeding aneurysm it is a medical emergency.
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Spontaneous subarachnoid (pronounced sub-uh-RACK-noid) hemorrhage is rightfully the most feared cause of sudden headache. Usually due to rupture of aneurysms (abnormal, balloon-like outpouchings of arteries) located near the base of the brain, subarachnoid hemorrhages involve bleeding into the space between the brain and its surrounding membrane, known as the meninges. A traumatic blow to the head can also cause subarachnoid hemorrhage, but this is a completely unrelated process and is not the subject of this essay.
About 10% of people with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhages die before they even get to a hospital and over a third die within the first four weeks following the bleed. Survivors can have significant impairments due to brain damage.
And while the effects of the initial bleed are bad enough, in the following few weeks individuals with subarachnoid hemorrhage can suffer additional, serious complications. One complication is that the aneurysm responsible for the initial hemorrhage can bleed a
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