Your brain depends on blood flowing through it in a specific way—not too fast, not too slow and without anything getting in its way. It also depends on that blood staying where it’s supposed to be: in blood vessels.
When this blood flow is interrupted it can be a medical emergency. Blood flow in the brain can be interrupted by blood vessels that have ruptured either from injury or disease.
Whatever the reason, blood flow must be restored quickly to all the right places and none of the wrong places in the brain.
A ruptured blood vessel lets blood flow into areas of the brain where it’s not supposed to be. When this blood builds up inside the brain itself it’s called an intracerebral hematoma. The buildup of blood can put pressure on the surrounding areas of the brain and lead to symptoms such as:
Hematomas in the brain are most often the result of a head injury, but occasionally they happen spontaneously, without any kind of trauma. Spontaneous intracerebral hematomas can be the result of chronic high blood pressure, which can weaken the blood vessels over time.
Dr. E. Sander Connolly is the Surgical Director for the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where he specializes in caring for patients with all types of bleeding in the brain.
He’s also the Director of Columbia’s Cerebrovascular Research Laboratory, where he is at the forefront of the work being done to find better ways to both treat and prevent hematomas and other such neurological emergencies in the brain—to get blood back in the right places in the brain and keep it there.
Dr. Connolly came to this year’s annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) to talk specifically about managing intracerebral hematomas. He moderated a breakfast seminar and discussion on “Controversies in the Management of Intracerebral Hematomas.” The panel discussed treatment options and ongoing clinical trials for patients with spontaneous intracerebral hematomas.
Read more about Dr. Connolly’s involvement at past AANS meetings at the following links:
Learn more about Columbia Neurosurgeons and the Department of Neurosurgery at Columbia here.
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