What Is a Hemorrhagic Stroke?

A hemorrhagic stroke is characterized by bleeding that interferes with the brain’s normal functions. In newborns, a hemorrhagic stroke can occur because of bleeding within the brain itself or between the baby’s brain and skull. 

This information was compiled from government sources, medical journals, and experts in birth injuries. 

Keep reading to learn more about hemorrhagic strokes in newborns.

baby in NICU

Hemorrhagic Strokes in Newborns

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. If the brain does not receive adequate blood flow, brain cells can die, causing permanent damage. 

An ischemic stroke is caused when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain. 

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused when a blood vessel bursts, causing the vessel to bleed out into the brain or between the brain and the skull. 

Most often, strokes in children happen before, during, or shortly after the child is born. Because of the timing of these strokes, they can also be called perinatal strokes.

Causes of Hemorrhagic Strokes

There are many causes of strokes in children, and the causes of hemorrhagic strokes can differ from the ones that cause ischemic strokes. 

Ischemic strokes can be caused by conditions like: lack of oxygen at birth, heart effects, blood disorders, dehydration, injuries to an artery, and problems with the mother, including preeclampsia, diabetes, infections, drugs, placental abruption, and uterine rupture. 

In contrast, hemorrhagic strokes are often caused by: head injuries (can be caused by improper use of vacuum extraction or forceps), aneurysms, diseases like hemophilia, and malformations of the brain. 

What Are the Dangers of Hemorrhagic Strokes?

Whether an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, any kind of stroke is potentially highly dangerous to a child. When brain cells die the resulting injuries are often permanent and can severely affect a child’s development. 

Cerebral Palsy is a permanent, non-progressive condition that can be caused by a stroke. This condition describes a broad variety of neurological disorders that can affect the person’s muscles, posture, coordination, balance, and more. 

In addition to Cerebral Palsy, a child who has suffered a stroke may have mental impairments–approximately half of people with CP also have some kind of mental impairment.

Additionally, problems with vision and hearing are not uncommon among stroke victims.

How Is a Hemorrhagic Stroke Diagnosed? 

Sometimes children have no obvious signs of having had a stroke. In cases where there are no obvious signs, parents and medical professionals often discover that a stroke has occurred later when the child shows signs of developmental delays.

If there are signs of a stroke, there are several ways for medical professionals to test for a stroke, including: blood tests, MRIs, MRAs, MRVs, CT scans, CTAs, Cranial ultrasounds, and a lumbar puncture. 

What’s the Bottom Line?

If you fear that a baby may have experienced a hemorrhagic stroke, you should immediately bring your concern to a medical professional. Do not be afraid to ask lots of questions and ask for help when you need it. 

Although the brain injuries caused by strokes cannot be cured, there is great evidence that early intervention and treatment can potentially significantly improve the life of the child. The sooner you act to get help, the better off the child will be. 

For more information about how to deal with a birth injury, please contact the Brown Trial Firm for a free consultation. 


(2020). Cook Children’s Health Care System. Retrieved 29 April 2020, from https://cookchildrens.org/neonatology/specialty-programs/Pages/newborn-stroke.aspx

Ischemic Stroke: MedlinePlus. (2020). Medlineplus.gov. Retrieved 29 April 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/ischemicstroke.html

11 Things to Know about Cerebral Palsy | CDC. (2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 29 April 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/features/cerebral-palsy-11-things.html

Contact a Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury Attorney

Getting help for a child with a birth injury can make a big difference. Early intervention and early treatment is often key to helping improve a child’s wellbeing. You must act quickly.

If you have questions about whether your child’s birth injury was caused by a preventable medical error, then our attorneys at Brown Trial Firm may be able to help.

Case Review at No Cost or Obligation

If you would like help investigating your child’s birth injury, please contact us. Our birth injury attorneys will be happy to give you a free case evaluation. We can also point you to great non-legal resources that can help you figure out your next steps.

Many birth injuries that cause cerebral palsy could have been prevented. Don’t wait, get help today. Call +1 (844) 232-9228, email us at [email protected], or use the live chat button for 24/7 assistance.

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