Subarachnoid haemorrhage

A type of brain haemorrhage in which a blood vessel ruptures into the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It usually occurs spontaneously but may follow unaccustomed exercise. It is most common in people between 35 and 60. The most common cause is a burst aneurysm (see berry aneurysm). An attack may cause loss of consciousness, sometimes preceded by a sudden violent headache. If the person remains conscious, symptoms such as photophobia, nausea, drowsiness, and stiffness of the neck may develop. Even unconscious patients may recover, but further attacks are common and often fatal. Diagnosis is by CT scanning and angiography. Treatment includes life-support procedures and control of blood pressure to prevent recurrence. Burst or leaking aneurysms are usually treated by surgery. About half of those people affected survive, some recover completely, others have residual disability such as paralysis.


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