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Cerebrovasc Dis. 2003;16 Suppl 1:9-13.

Outcome after brain haemorrhage.

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Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK.


Between 10 and 20% of strokes are due to intracerebral haemorrhage. The 1-month case fatality is about 42% in unselected cohorts. This relatively low incidence (compared with ischaemic stroke) and high early case fatality means that relatively few patients are available for long-term follow-up and therefore the available data on prognosis are imprecise. Moreover, improvements in diagnostic methods, such as the introduction of gradient echo MRI, which is very sensitive to intracerebral haemorrhage, are altering the types of patients being entered into studies of prognosis. Despite these methodological difficulties, it does appear that the overall prognosis with respect to survival and residual disability is similar to that for ischaemic stroke of equivalent clinical severity. Greater age and stroke severity, whether graded by neurological score or extent of haemorrhage on imaging, are both associated with increased case fatality and poorer functional outcomes. There is no definite evidence of differential recovery between ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Epileptic seizures occur more commonly after haemorrhagic stroke (about 8 per 100 patient-years) compared with ischaemic stroke and more commonly in lobar rather than basal ganglia haemorrhage. There is no reliable evidence to indicate that the risk of recurrent stroke after haemorrhage differs from that after ischaemic stroke. However, strokes due to haemorrhage, like those due to infarction, are heterogeneous not only in terms of severity but also in their causes. The causes (e.g. amyloid angiopathy, hypertension, coagulation deficits) are likely to influence the risk of subsequent stroke. Pooling of data from community-based studies of haemorrhagic stroke that have used consistent definitions and methods represents the only feasible way to obtain more precise data on prognosis after intracerebral haemorrhage.

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