Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), the most devastating form of stroke, has no specific therapy proven to improve outcome by randomized controlled trial. Location and baseline hematoma volume are strong predictors of mortality, but are nonmodifiable by the time of diagnosis. Expansion of the initial hematoma is a further marker of poor prognosis that may be at least partly preventable. Several risk factors for hematoma expansion have been identified, including baseline ICH volume, early presentation after symptom onset, anticoagulation, and the CT angiography spot sign. Although the biological mechanisms of hematoma expansion remain unclear, accumulating evidence supports a model of ongoing secondary bleeding from ruptured adjacent vessels surrounding the initial bleeding site. Several large clinical trials testing therapies aimed at preventing hematoma expansion are in progress, including aggressive blood pressure reduction, treatment with recombinant factor VIIa guided by CT angiography findings, and surgical intervention for superficial hematomas without intraventricular extension. Hematoma expansion is so far the only marker of outcome that is amenable to treatment and thus a potentially important therapeutic target.
Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.