Brain edema after intracerebral hemorrhage: mechanisms, treatment options, management strategies, and operative indications

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✓Primary intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is associated with a high mortality rate and severe morbidity. The treatment of choice is still controversial, given that data from several clinical trials have not provided convincing evidence to support the efficacy of surgical clot removal. Favoring early clot removal is evidence that the limited release of specific neurotoxins associated with the breakdown products of hemoglobin underlies secondary brain injury. Attention has therefore shifted to perilesional brain injury, especially brain edema, as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in patients with ICH. In this review the authors address current understanding of the causes of edema formation following ICH and the treatment options, which are mostly supportive in nature.

Abbreviations used in this paper:CBF = cerebral blood flow; CPP = cerebral perfusion pressure; ICH = intracerebral hemorrhage; ICP = intracranial pressure; IL = interleukin; tPA = tissue-type plasminogen activator.

✓Primary intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is associated with a high mortality rate and severe morbidity. The treatment of choice is still controversial, given that data from several clinical trials have not provided convincing evidence to support the efficacy of surgical clot removal. Favoring early clot removal is evidence that the limited release of specific neurotoxins associated with the breakdown products of hemoglobin underlies secondary brain injury. Attention has therefore shifted to perilesional brain injury, especially brain edema, as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in patients with ICH. In this review the authors address current understanding of the causes of edema formation following ICH and the treatment options, which are mostly supportive in nature.

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Address reprint requests to: Ruth Thiex, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Aachen University Clinic, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52057 Aachen, Germany. email: ruth.thiex@post.rwth-aachen.de.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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