Traumatic brain injuries often result in very serious situations, and brain hemorrhages are one of them. Defined easily, hemorrhages are bleeds, but they are not the kinds of bleeds where you can stick a bandage on it and let it heal. Intracerebral hemorrhages happen within brain tissue instead of outside of it. Hemorrhages are classified as focal brain injuries. Focal brain injuries are brain injuries that are in specific locations and occur because of direct contact between the head and another solid object. Bleeding in the brain can cause severe swelling which can cause high levels of intracranial pressure (or ICP). If this pressure isn't relieved quickly, brain damage becomes a likely possibility and can adversely affect brain function. Since the brain is responsible for so many other bodily functions, keeping the brain in perfect working order is crucial. There are two different types of hemorrhages a person can suffer from if they hit their head: intracerebral and intraventricular.
What are Intracerebral Hemorrhages?Intracerebral hemorrhages are often called intraparenchymal hemorrhages. These types of brain hemorrhages are medical emergencies because they can lead to increases in ICP making them especially fatal. Intraparenchymal bleeds caused by trauma usually happen because of penetrating head trauma, but they can also be caused by skull fractures. After an intracerebral hemorrhage, blood may build up in the brain tissues or in the space between the brain and its membranes. The bleeding might only be in one half of the brain, but it can also occur in other parts of the brain such as the thalamus or the cerebellum. Symptoms of an intracerebral hemorrhage differ depending on the location of the bleed and the amount of brain tissue that is affected. The symptoms usually develop out of nowhere and without any warning. Some intracerebral hemorrhage symptoms include headaches, a loss of coordination or balance, seizures and difficulties in vision and/or speech. To treat a hemorrhage, a doctor must first locate it, and CT scans and MRIs are used to detect them. Treatment depends on where the hemorrhage is, what caused it and how much bleeding there is. Surgery may be needed, especially if there is bleeding in the cerebellum, but surgery may also be required to repair or remove structures causing the bleed.
What is an Intraventricular Hemorrhage?An intraventricular hemorrhage, or IVH, is a bleed in the brains ventricular system. In the ventricular system, fluid is made and circulated throughout the brain. Studies have shown that intraventricular hemorrhages occur in about 35 percent of moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries. Intraventricular hemorrhages can also lead to increases in intracranial pressure (or ICP). Bleeding in the brain can put pressure on nerve cells causing damage. Increased damage to those nerve cells can cause even further brain damage.There are four different grades of intraventricular hemorrhage:
- Grade 1 Bleeding appears in just in a small area of the ventricles
- Grade 2 Bleeding begins to occur inside the ventricles
- Grade 3 Bleeding in the ventricles creates larger hemorrhages.
- Grade 4 Bleeding begins to build up into the brain tissues around the ventricles.