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Stroke Symptoms Vomiting

Updated February 21, 2017

Vomiting is one of the symptoms of a stroke, particularly one caused by subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in the brain. This type of stroke comes about when a blood vessel leaks under the arachnoid membrane on the brain's surface. Subarachnoid hemorrhage accounts for about 10 percent of strokes.

Causes

A subarachnoid hemorrhage can occur as the result of weakness in an artery in the brain. This weakness can cause an aneurysm, which makes the artery swell like a balloon. The pressure from the blood going through the artery can tear its walls, causing a hemorrhage. Arteriovenous malformation is another cause of subarachnoid hemorrhage. In this case, blood leaking from an abnormal formation of blood vessels is the trigger.

Most Common Symptom

A severe headache is the most common symptom of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. It often occurs suddenly at the back of the head. The pain is similar to receiving a blow to the head, and this sudden blow can transform into an intense headache within seconds. The headache will then migrate to the neck and back within minutes or hours, following the blood leaking along the spinal subarachnoid space. The headache typically lasts from one to two weeks.

Other Symptoms

After the severe headache that often occurs as the first symptom of subarachnoid hemorrhage the following symptoms can occur: nausea, vomiting, stiffness of the neck, dizziness, loss of consciousness, loss of vision, sensory or motor disturbance and seizure. Not all of these will occur, so be sure to get medical attention if one or more of these symptoms occur after a severe headache.

Management

Doctors with patients who have experienced subarachnoid hemorrhage typically prescribe nimodipine, schedule a CT angiogram to examine the cerebral arteries and allow for surgical clipping or endovascular embolisation of the associated aneurysm to prevent further bleeding. Recurrence of subarachnoid hemorrhage is unlikely with treatment of the aneurysm. Periodical CT or MRI scans could monitor the possible development of future aneurysms.

Risk Factors

A family history of subarachnoid hemorrhage puts someone at risk. Smoking, hypertension and alcohol abuse could also contribute to the development of subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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