A subarachnoid haemorrhage is a sudden leak of blood which spreads over the surface of the brain. The majority of these haemorrhages are caused as a result of a weakness in the wall of a blood vessel resulting in a rupture caused by the pressure of blood. Smokers with high blood pressure are at greatest risk. The injury is more common in older people however aneurysms do occur in young people with no obvious risk factors and it most often occurs at a time of physical effort such as coughing, going to the toilet, heavy lifting, or straining, or during sex. The initial symptom is often a sudden, severe headache which usually persists for more than an hour, often at the back of the head, which is followed by being sick. In severe cases a fit, collapse and loss of consciousness may occur. If you believe that your condition has arisen or been worsened as a result of medical negligence, contact our subarachnoid brain haemorrhage solicitors for advice at no cost.
Diagnosis is often difficult and patients may arrive at the hospital having suffered from a sudden, severe headache which may have cleared to leave them well, with no physical signs or at the other end of the spectrum the patient may be in a coma. Numerous warning symptoms may give an indication of a bleed in the brain however diagnosis is often missed by specialist consultants even though the warning symptoms prior to a major haemorrhage occur in about 50% of all patients. If a sub arachnoid haemorrhage does subsequently occur and causes physical injury or death that might have been avoided with proper diagnosis then the healthcare professionals involved in the initial treatment may have been negligent and liable to pay compensation for any medical negligence claims made against them.
A brain haemorrhage may require surgery to repair the damage that has been caused however operations to repair the damage can be negligently performed, and if this negligence causes damage that otherwise would not have occurred, then it may be possible to recover compensation.
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Medical Negligence Solicitors
If you would like legal advice at no cost about claiming compensation for a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage just use the helpline, complete the contact form or email our solicitors offices and a specialist medical negligence solicitor will telephone you with no further obligation. Following a review of the circumstances of the injury and of the medical records you will be advised whether you have a reasonable claim and if so, what steps you should take to protect your legal right to receive compensation. All of our subarachnoid brain haemorrhage solicitors use no win no fee arrangements to represent their clients which means that if your subarachnoid brain haemorrhage solicitor doesn't achieve settlement then he doesn't get paid his professional costs and the client does not receive a bill for legal costs.
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Subarachnoid Brain Haemorrhage Medical Overview
Subarachnoid haemorrhage involves bleeding in the space between the brain and the overlying subarachnoid lining. This space is known as the subarachnoid space. The bleeding can be very fast and can result in death within hours of getting the subarachnoid haemorrhage.
The cause of a subarachnoid bleed includes a bleeding disorder that causes spontaneous bleeding between the layers of the brain and connective tissue. It can also be caused by an arteriovenous malformation or from a cerebral aneurysm. Head injuries can disrupt blood vessels in the subarachnoid space. It can happen if you use blood thinners or happen just as a result of an idiopathic, non-traumatic bleed. The most common cause of a subarachnoid haemorrhage occurs in the elderly who have fallen and have struck their head during the fall. In the youth, the most common cause of subarachnoid bleeding is a motor vehicle accident.
Subarachnoid haemorrhage is not common. It occurs in 10-15 percent out of a thousand individuals and is due to a rupture of a cerebral aneurysm most commonly in those between the ages of 20-60. Women get the haemorrhage slightly more commonly than do men.
Risk factors to subarachnoid haemorrhage include having an aneurysm in other types of blood vessels, having fibromuscular dysplasia, which is a connective tissue disorder affecting the outside of walls of the blood vessels, having high blood pressure, smoking history or a history of polycystic kidneys. If you have a strong family history of aneurysms, your risk of bleeding from an aneurysm yourself is greater than average.
Symptoms of subarachnoid haemorrhage are usually severe and life threatening. People with a subarachnoid haemorrhage usually experience the "worst headache of their life", usually worse in the back of the head. There is usually a decreased level of consciousness associated with a loss of feeling or movement to a part of the body. There are personality changes and alterations in mood, including irritability and confusion. Muscle aches, including shoulder and neck pain, are also common along with nausea and vomiting. Seizures can happen and the individual can often not tolerate light. There is usually a stiff neck and double vision or vision problems.
Rarely, there can be differing sizes of pupils, eyelid drooping and arching of the back with subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Doctors need to diagnose a subarachnoid haemorrhage relatively quickly so as to proceed with treatment as soon as possible. A complete neurological examination and physical examination can show some of the symptoms as noted above. The patient can be in a deep coma. Neurological deficits can be noted on examination. A CT scan of the head will show blood in the subarachnoid space and pressure on the brain. There can be a spinal tap as well, which will show blood in the cerebrospinal fluid. A CT angiography exam can show the presence or absence of an aneurysm. CT angiography is the best test of a subarachnoid haemorrhage.
MRI scanning can show the same thing as a CT scan of the head and, in some cases, an ultrasound done through the skull can show blood vessel spasms and areas of bleeding.
The treatment of subarachnoid bleeding must be fast in order to save one's life. The idea is to save your life as well as to prevent brain damage as a result of pressure on the brain. Surgery may be required in order to clip off an aneurysm and prevent further bleeding. If this cannot be done, a craniotomy can be done to relieve pressure on the brain. There is a special procedure called an endovascular coiling that clots the blood within the aneurysm using a minimally invasive technique.
Patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage need to be supported form a life support standpoint. They may need intubation and control of blood pressure in order to decrease the bleeding. Mannitol and steroids are used to decrease the pressure on the brain. A tube may need to be inserted into the skull in order to drain excess blood from the brain. Anti-anxiety medications and pain killers are used to control the common agitation and pain associated with the condition. Medications against seizures are also often given as the seizure rate is high.
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