Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Hemorrhagic Stroke

Conditions that can cause hemorrhagic stroke include:

  • High blood pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels and to the body over time, increasing the risk of rupture and stroke.
  • Aneurysm: Bulges in arteries can swell, stretch and weaken the artery wall and burst, causing a stroke. High blood pressure can make an aneurysm more likely to rupture.
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs): Tangles of faulty blood vessels can rupture, causing stroke. High blood pressure may increase the likelihood of an AVM bursting.


Knowing the type of stroke will determine the best course of treatment and therapy to help you recover. Experienced neurologists at Northwestern Medicine will diagnose you based on signs and symptoms, a physical examination and diagnostic tests that may include:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: This test can show bleeding in the brain or damage to brain cells caused by a stroke, and may also reveal any brain conditions that may have caused the symptoms.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Images from this test can reveal changes in brain tissue from the stroke.
  • CT or MR arteriograms: These imaging tests can show the large blood vessels in the brain, as well as reveal the flow of blood through the brain or the size of a blood clot.