Intracerebral hemorrhage after fibrinolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction

Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, Clifford R. Jack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Intracerebral hematoma may complicate treatment of acute myocardial infarction in patients treated with fibrinolytic agents. We studied the clinical presentation and computed tomographic characteristics. Methods: We studied eight patients with lobar intracerebral hematomas after fibrinolytic treatment of acute coronary occlusion. All patients had electrocardiographic and laboratory evidence of acute myocardial infarction and were treated with tissue plasminogen activator or streptokinase followed by heparin infusion to prevent reocclusion. Computed tomography scans of 17 patients with cerebral hemorrhage from other causes were used for comparison. Results: For most patients, outcome was fatal within hours of the ictus. Computed tomography scans showed superficially large lobar hematomas in six patients. One patient had a putaminal hemorrhage, and one had a vermis hemorrhage. Multiple sites of intracerebral hemorrhage were noted in three patients. Fluid levels inside the hematoma suggesting continuing hemorrhage into multiple compartments were common. Radiologically, fluid levels in hematomas, multiple hematomas, and blood in multiple compartments served to differentiate fibrinolysis-induced hemorrhage from hemorrhage of other causes. Severe amyloid angiopathy was found in one patient who was operated on. Conclusions: Hemorrhages in multiple compartments and the presence of fluid levels inside the hematoma suggest fibrinolysis-associated cerebral hematomas. Severe amyloid angiopathy may be a crucial factor in this clinical entity. Outcome is poor, and a high proportion of patients have rapid progression to brain death. Therefore, emergency neurosurgical evacuation will probably be unsuccessful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-557
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993


  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Fibrinogen
  • Myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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