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Hemorrhagic strokes happen less often than ischemic strokes.

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused when a blood vessel bursts and blood spills into the brain. The spill causes increased pressure and swelling, resulting in damage to the brain. Quick treatment is essential to saving a person's life.

Intracerebral hemorrhagic strokes

High blood pressure is a main cause for intracerebral hemorrhagic strokes. These strokes occur when blood vessels already damaged from hardened or narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis) leak into the brain.

Subarachnoid hemorrhagic strokes

This type of stroke may occur when an aneurysm–a blood vessel with a weak spot–bursts, leaking blood into an area between the brain and the skull (the subarachnoid space).

Diagnosing hemorrhagic strokes

Diagnostic tests such as CT and CTA scans can help identify the source of bleeding:

  • CT scan shows the location and size of the blood, as well as any brain swelling.
  • CTA scans examine the brain's blood vessels for a possible malformation.