, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 38-45,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 31 Mar 2007

Intracerebral haemorrhage: an often neglected medical emergency


Intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) is the deadliest form of stroke, carrying a mortality rate between 30% and 55%, increasing to 67% in patients on oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT). Despite its relevant incidence, the treatment of ICH has been until recently a largely neglected item, addressed by only a few trials. Early treatment of ICH in non-anticoagulated patients with recombinant activated factor VII (rFVII) has been demonstrated to be able to limit the growth of the haematoma, but such a promising result requires further confirmations. In ICH patients receiving OAT a prompt reversal of the anticoagulant effect should be warranted in order to reduce the consequences of this dreadful adverse event. In clinical practice, however, just a small proportion of anticoagulated patients receive this treatment, probably because of the fear of thromboembolic complications. It is now time to check our way of thinking about ICH, regarding and treating it as a compelling medical emergency.