What is subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)?
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a type of stroke. Head trauma is the most common cause.
In patients without head trauma, SAH is most commonly caused by a brain aneurysm. A brain aneurysm is a ballooning of an artery in the brain that can rupture and bleed into the space between the brain and the skull.
Risk factors for developing an aneurysm include:
- High blood pressure
- Smoking cigarettes
- Excessive alcohol use
- Cocaine and/or methamphetamine use
- Family history of brain aneurysm
- Certain types of connective tissue disorders
- Prior brain aneurysm
What are the symptoms of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)?
Most subarachnoid hemorrhages caused by brain aneurysms do not cause symptoms until they rupture. A ruptured brain aneurysm is an emergency and 9-1-1 should be called immediately. Symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm include:
- Sudden worst headache of life
- Associated neck or back pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Decreased responsiveness
- Sudden weakness