Cerebral hemorrhage from amyloid angiopathy and coronary thrombolysis

Neurosurgery. 1992 Sep;31(3):586-90. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199209000-00025.


Coronary thrombolysis with streptokinase or tissue plasminogen activator is useful for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction in selected patients. This treatment is associated with local hemorrhagic complications and age-related cerebral hemorrhage. Coronary thrombolysis is contraindicated in patients with transient cerebral ischemia and stroke, arterial hypertension, cerebral trauma, cerebral aneurysms, and arteriovenous malformations, because of the risk of cerebral hemorrhage. We report the occurrence of a cerebral hemorrhage related to cerebral amyloid angiopathy in a patient who underwent thrombolysis and treatment with heparin for acute myocardial infarction. Despite normal coagulation parameters, the cerebral hematoma enlarged over 36 hours, as documented by sequential computed tomographic scans, to produce significant mass effect, which prompted surgical evacuation. Histological examination of the resected specimen demonstrated the strong affinity for Congo red and yellow-green birefringence that are characteristic of cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Hemostasis was difficult to achieve, as the divided or disrupted amyloid-laden cortical vessels failed to vasoconstrict, their contractile elements replaced by amyloid beta protein. The patient died of recurrent myocardial ischemia 3 days postoperatively. The incidence of cerebral amyloid angiopathy increases with advancing age. It must be considered as a potential source of cerebral hemorrhage in elderly patients undergoing thrombolysis for cardiac ischemia. Such an occurrence presents a difficult challenge because cardiac function is compromised, the coagulation profile may be altered, the cerebral hematoma is life threatening, and intracranial hemostasis is difficult to achieve.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / complications*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy
  • Streptokinase / adverse effects*
  • Streptokinase / therapeutic use
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Streptokinase