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Stroke. 1996 Oct;27(10):1783-7.

Enlargement of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage. Incidence and time course.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, National Cardiovascular Center, Osaka, Japan.



Standard radiographic criteria for hematoma enlargement have not been established. We undertook this investigation to assess the incidence and time course of hematoma growth using objective cutoff values.


We reviewed the clinical records of 204 patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage treated nonsurgically who underwent initial computed tomography (CT) within 48 hours and repeat CT within 120 hours of the onset of symptoms. The consensus of five observers reading the CT films was considered the "gold standard" for hematoma enlargement. The discriminant values of the difference (V2-V1) or the ratio (V2/V1) of the hematoma volume on the initial (V1) and second (V2) CT scans were determined by use of receiver operating characteristic curves. We chose the cutpoint that had the highest sensitivity and specificity for identifying hematoma expansion.


The cutpoint for hematoma enlargement was determined as V2-V1 = 12.5 cm3 or V2/V1 = 1.4 (sensitivity = 94.4%, specificity = 95.8%). Forty-one patients (20%) had changes that exceeded these criteria. Frequency of hematoma expansion was greatest among those who underwent the initial CT scan early (27 [36%] of 74 patients at < or = 3 hours) and progressively declined as the time to initial scan was prolonged (7 [16%] of 45 patients at 3 to 6 hours; 5 [15%] of 33 patients at 6 to 12 hours; 2 [6%] of 34 patients at 12 to 24 hours; and 0 [0%] of 18 patients at 24 to 48 hours).


The enlargement of hematoma was defined radiographically as the increase of its volume by > or = 12.5 cm3 or by > or = 1.4 times. Although expansion of intracerebral hemorrhage on CT scan was common in the hyperacute stage, 17% of hematoma expansion occurred even after 6 hours of onset. Enlargement after 24 hours of onset seems extremely rare. Early CT scanning appears to increase the rate of detection of enlarging hematomas.

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