Medical Q&As

Subarachnoid haemorrhage - what is it?

Can you tell me about subarachnoid haemorrhage as a friend of mine got it?

Subarachnoid haemorrhage is the technical term for a particular form of brain haemorrhage. The haemorrhage occurs in the space beneath the arachnoid mater, which is one of the layers of tissue that envelops the brain. Three layers of tissue called the dura mater, arachnoid mater and pia mater cover the brain. Therefore subaracnoid haemorrhage occurs in the space between the pia and arachnoid mater. To put it simply it is a haemorrhage on the surface of the brain where the blood seeps into the space between the covering layers leading to rising pressure on the brain. Most cases occur spontaneously without prior warning and are usually due to the bursting of a congenitally malformed blood vessel. The outcome depends on the location of the haemorrhage and the amount of blood that is lost into the subarachnoid space. In some cases the extent of haemorrhage is so catastrophic that the person succumbs before medical help is available. In other cases the bleeding stops spontaneously and the person recovers however, they may have residual permanent disability. If the site of bleeding is surgically accessible the ruptured blood vessel can be repaired. Some people can make a full recovery but each case has to be regarded as a unique event. Assuming that a person survives the bleed you literally have to take one day at a time to gauge how complete the recovery is likely to be.