What is intracranial hemorrhage?

Fact Checked

Intracranial hemorrhage is characterized as acute bleeding within the skull or brain. As a life-threatening emergency, call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department right away.

Risk factors

Most cases of intracranial hemorrhage are due to head injuries. Any activities or lifestyle choices that puts one at risk for a head injury can lead to intracranial hemorrhage.

Factors that heightens the risk include the following:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Family history of intracranial hemorrhage
  • Hypertension
  • Strenuous physical exertion
    Headache linked with a recent blow or strike to the head.
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Using certain drugs including amphetamines and ecstasy

Indications of intracranial hemorrhage

The indications tend to vary depending on the type but generally include:

  • Headache linked with a recent blow or strike to the head
  • Sudden and severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Mild and lingering headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache that is accompanied by a stiff neck
  • Vomiting more than 2 times in 24 hours
  • Seizures
  • Coma


Intracranial hemorrhage is considered as a medical emergency. The survival is based on getting immediate treatment.

In most cases, it might be required to relieve the pressure on the skull. This is done by drilling a small-sized hole in the skull to release blood. In some cases, drilling a bigger hole might be needed to get rid of a blood clot.

Medications that might be prescribed by the doctor include steroids to lower the swelling, anticoagulants to reduce clotting and anti-seizure medications.

Possible complications

  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Paralysis
  • Memory loss
  • Brain development issues among children
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with concentration

The outlook is based on the severity of the intracranial hemorrhage and how early treatment is started.

Depending on the severity of the hemorrhage, drainage of a hematoma can help with recovery. Physical or occupational therapy is oftentimes needed to allow the individual to return to normal activities.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on intracranial hemorrhage is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how head injuries and conditions are treated, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All firstaidcprvictoria.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.