Background: Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is an unusual but serious complication of bleeding disorders. ICH is believed to follow thrombocytopenia, alterations in coagulation, and vascular fragility. Information regarding its distribution is nonconclusive, and the mechanism of bleeding is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to examine the clinical and neuroimaging features of ICH in patients with bleeding disorders to predict risk factors for this condition.
Methods: All cases of ICH diagnosed from 1987 to 2004 were retrospectively identified using the centralized database of our institution. Cases were included whenever ICH was caused by a primary hematologic disorder. The clinical characteristics, neuroimages, and outcome were analyzed.
Results: A total of 31 patients were identified. ICH was the initial presentation of the bleeding disorder in 9 patients. Overall, 71% had systemic bleeding concurrent to the ICH. All patients had altered mental status. In 45.2% of the patients simultaneous intracranial hemorrhages were found. Eight patients had recurrent ICH. Severe thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 10,000/mm(3)) was present in 41% and very low platelets (</=1000/mm(3)) in 3%. Death occurred in 71%.
Conclusions: Multiple ICH is not an unusual presentation in patients with primary bleeding disorders developing brain hemorrhage. Although low platelet counts can be blamed for the bleeding, factors different from thrombocytopenia should be considered as the principal mechanism. The best predictor of cerebral bleeding is the presence of systemic bleeding.