MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: What happens when a brain hemorrhage?

Date: Sun Jul 29 18:20:35 2007
Posted By: Jeffrey Utz, Science Teacher
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1184269427.Me

I am very sorry to hear about your husband.

When one has a stroke caused by bleeding (also called a hemorrhagic stroke), a blood vessel ruptures or leaks. Unfortunately, the blood has no place to go. If the bleeding continues, pressure builds up in skull. Eventually, the pressure from the blood that leaked around the brain is too high, and blood flow stops to some or all of the brain. When this happens, the brain dies, unless there is immediate treatment.

If a major artery is ruptured, the patient might become unconscious immediately, as I suspect happened with your husband. This because if too much blood escapes from the artery, there won't any blood left for the artery to carry to rest of the brain (kind of like when an hose ruptures, and there's no water to wash your car). In addition, the blood may irritate the brain cells, causing unconsciousness.

I also want to say a few words about myelofibrosis. Myelofibrosis is a disease where connective tissue takes over the bone marrow. When this happens, the bone marrow doesn't make enough platelets, which are needed to stop bleeding (the bone marrow also doesn't make enough white blood cells, which fight infection and enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen in the blood). Because there wasn't enough platelets, once the blood started leaking, there was no way for it to stop.

Anyway, I am very sorry about your loss. I hope this helps you understand what happened a little better.

I have added references about myelofibrosis and strokes from the Mayo Clinic which you and others may find helpful:

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