Subarachnoid Hemorrhage-Related Conditions
Subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when blood leaks into the space between two of the membranes surrounding the brain. Naturally, no parent wants to think about their newborn baby suffering trauma to the brain, but, if your infant experiences a hemorrhage, you need to be aware that there is a risk of developing further problems, or related conditions.Get A 100% Free CASE Evaluation
The Main Subarachnoid Hemorrhage-Related Conditions
A brain aneurysm is a serious early complication of this type of hemorrhage. When the aneurysm bursts once it has already healed, it is referred to as re-bleeding. The risk is highest a few days within the first hemorrhage and can carry a high risk of permanent disability.
Hydrocephalus occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in the brain. The build-up increases pressure, leading to brain damage. In turn, this can cause a variety of symptoms in babies, including being sick and weak.
Hydrocephalus tends to be common after a subarachnoid hemorrhage since the damage caused by the bleeding on the infant’s brain can disrupt the production and drainage of essential cerebrospinal fluids. This, in turn, leads to increased quantities of fluid around the baby’s brain.
Cerebrospinal fluid is a colorless, clear fluid that surrounds and supports the spinal cord and brain. A constant supply of new fluid is produced in the brain, while old fluid drains into blood vessels. Hydrocephalus may be treated with a temporary tube being surgically implanted into the brain in order to drain excess fluid.
3. Delayed Cerebral Ischemia
Also known as vasospasm, this is another common complication of an infant’s brain trauma. It occurs when the supply of blood to the brain becomes too low and disrupts normal brain functioning, leading to brain damage. It is also common a few days after the initial hemorrhage.
Vasospasm involves the blood vessels going into spasm, resulting in the vessels narrowing. Common symptoms include drowsiness and weakness on one side of the body.
Long-Term Complications That May Occur
There are several long-term complications that may affect babies after a hemorrhage.
1. Emotional Problems
Emotional problems can take a variety of forms, including:
- Anxiety disorder – a baby may develop an anxiety disorder, feeling a constant sense of dread and anxiety as he or she grows up.
- Depression – a baby, may grow up with feelings of hopelessness.
Around 1 in 20 people who have had a subarachnoid hemorrhage develop epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition where the normal workings of the brain are interrupted, causing a child to have repeated seizures.
There are different kinds of seizures, and the symptoms tend to vary. As a child who has had bleeding on the brain grows up, he or she may lose consciousness during a seizure, become stiff or shake, and have muscle contractions. Typically, seizures last from seconds to a few minutes before the child’s brain activity returns to normal.
In most instances of epilepsy after a hemorrhage, the first seizure will occur in the infant in the first year after the hemorrhage.
3. Cognitive Dysfunction
This occurs when a child experiences difficulties with one or more brain functions, such as his or her memory. Cognitive dysfunction is one of the most common subarachnoid hemorrhage related conditions that affects most people to some kind of degree. It can take a number of forms, including:
- Problems with tasks that require a degree of planning – even simple tasks, like your child learning to make a cup of tea can be difficult, and frustrating for him or her
- Problems with attention or concentration
- Problems with memory – a child who has had a hemorrhage as an infant may experience problems with his or her memory as he or she grows up.
Treating Related Conditions of Subarachnoid Hemorrhages in Infants
The abovementioned conditions have each their own form of treatment, from occupational and physical therapy to medication, surgery, and speech and memory therapy. Hypothermia therapy, or cooling therapy, for newborns who hemorrhage can help to minimize future brain injury and impairments, and even prevent death.
The therapy involves cooling the baby’s temperature to delay cell death, and in turn delay and prevent developmental delays, and even cerebral palsy. There are two common kinds of cooling techniques: whole body cooling where the baby is placed on a waterproof blanket, and head cooling with the use of a cool cap.
Overall, if a baby experiences bleeding on the brain at birth, it is imperative that swift measures are taken to prevent future brain injury-related conditions.