What Is A Subarachnoid Hemorrhage?
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) refers to bleeding within the subarachnoid space, which is the area between the brain and the tissues that cover the brain. The space is filled with cerebrospinal fluid, and is responsible for protecting the brain from serious injuries by serving as a cushion.
While the subarachnoid space is somewhat of a defense mechanism in the body, the area itself is not invincible. When a hemorrhage occurs in this space, a person may experience coma or paralysis. In fact, 40% of subarachnoid hemorrhages are fatal.
Symptoms Of SAH
This condition can occur rapidly, and the key to survival is immediate medical intervention. The most common symptom is a headache that can be described as the “worst ever.” Typically, the source of the pain is at the base of the skull. Sometimes, the victim can feel a “popping” beforehand.
Some other subarachnoid hemorrhage symptoms include:
- neck pain
- numbness throughout the body
- shoulder pain
- sensitivity to light
- decreased vision
- rapid loss of alertness
Symptoms of SAH come on suddenly and you may lose consciousness quickly. If you experience any of these symptoms combined with a severe headache, it is important to seek emergency medical attention right away.
Car Accidents & Other Causes
About 85% of subarachnoid hemorrhages are caused by congenital “berry” aneurysms. They call the aneurysm a berry because it forms a cluster of sac-like pouches in a cerebral vessel, making it look like a cluster of berries. Over time, these “berry” aneurysms swell, weakening the walls of the arteries. When it erupts, it quickly bleeds and forms a clot. Some people who take certain prescription drugs may be more prone to Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
In some cases, trauma to the brain during an injury can cause aneurysms and result in a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A serious head injury—such as occurs in a car crash or when an older person falls and hits their head—can also lead to an SAH.
Treating Subarachnoid Hemorrhages
Rapid treatment is important to save your life and reduce the possibility of brain damage. Surgery is performed to first close the aneurysm (clip the aneurysm) and stop future bleeding, and then to provide a more permanent repair to the aneurysm.
If you don’t lose consciousness as part of SAH, you will still be given strict instructions to prevent post-treatment coma. Bed rest is standard for patients recovering from this condition. You will also be instructed to refrain from straining your body or bending over because these actions can increase pressure on the brain.
Treatment is not a guarantee; some patients die even after the most aggressive medical interventions. The earlier you seek emergency medical care, the better your chances of survival.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a subarachnoid hemorrhage after a severe blow to the head, or as a side effect of a prescription drug, it’s important to look into your legal options. The personal injury lawyers at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers understand how important it is to not only know the law, but also the medicine. Call us at 314.444.4444 to learn about your rights to compensation.