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J Neurol. 2006 Aug;253(8):985-99. Epub 2006 May 6.

Update on intracerebral haemorrhage.

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  • 1Centro de Estudos Egas Moniz, Hospital de Santa Maria, Lisboa 1649-035, Portugal.


Intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) is a common and serious disease. About 1 to 2 out of 10 patients with stroke have an ICH. The mortality of ICH is higher than that of ischaemic stroke. Only 31% are functionally independent at 3 months. Only 38% of the patients survive the 1(st) year. The cost of ICH is high. Hypertension is the major risk factor, increasing the risk of ICH about 4x. Up to half of hypertensive patients who suffer a ICH are either unaware of their hypertension, non-compliant with the medication or fail to control periodically their blood pressure levels Microbleeds and white matter changes are MRI markers of the risk of ICH. ICH has 3 main pathophysiological phases: arterial rupture and haematoma formation, haematoma enlargement and peri-haematoma oedema. Up to 40% of the haematomas grow in the first hours post-rupture. ICH growth is associated with early clinical deterioration. Two randomised clinical trials (RCTs) demonstrated that treatment with rFVIIa limited haematoma growth and improved outcome, but was associated with a increase in thromboembolic complications. Ventricular drainage with thrombolytics might improve outcome for patients with intraventricular bleeding. A large RCT and meta-analysis failed to show a benefit of surgery over conservative treatment in acute ICH.

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