With former Poison frontman (now reality-show celeb) Bret Michaels having reportedly suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, three questions naturally arise: What is it? What causes it? What's the prognosis?
First answer: A subarachnoid hemorrhage is a type of bleeding stroke that occurs between the tissues around the brain and the brain itself.
Second answer: Sometimes such strokes are the result of a ruptured aneurysm, or weak spot in a blood vessel; sometimes they arise from an existing weakness in the connection between the brain's arteries and veins; sometimes they're caused by an injury (a fall in the elderly, car accident in the young). Sometimes, there's simply no way to know.
Third answer: That depends -- upon complications, amount of bleeding, age, symptom severity. (More on this in a bit.)
All of this info is from the ever-reliable Medline Plus. Here's what else it has to say about subarachnoid hemorrhages.
Now back to that prognosis question. Here's a just-the-facts summary from Merck.com.
About 35% of people die when they have a subarachnoid hemorrhage due to an aneurysm because it results in extensive brain damage. Another 15% die within a few weeks because of bleeding from a second rupture. People who survive for 6 months but who do not have surgery for the aneurysm have a 3% chance of another rupture each year. The outlook is better when the cause is an arteriovenous malformation. Occasionally, the hemorrhage is caused by a small defect that is not detected by cerebral angiography because the defect has already sealed itself off. In such cases, the outlook is very good.
Some people recover most or all mental and physical function after a subarachnoid hemorrhage. However, many people continue to have symptoms such as weakness, paralysis, or loss of sensation on one side of the body or aphasia.
More from Merck here.
And here's the latest story, posted on latimes.com, about Michaels: Bret Michaels undergoing new tests
-- Tami Dennis
Photo: Bret Michaels. Credit: File photo