Nonaneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Review of Clinical Course and Outcome in Two Hemorrhage Patterns

Linda L. Herrmann; Joseph M. Zabramski


J Neurosci Nurs. 2007;39(6):135-142. 

In This Article

Definition and Presentation of Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

A subarachnoid hemorrhage is defined as blood in the subarachnoid space (Hickey, 2003) that may result from a fall, trauma, or the rupture of an aneurysm or other vascular malformation. Patients with spontaneous SAH present with a sudden onset of severe headache (97%), classically described as "the worst headache of my life." Meningeal signs, such as nuchal rigidity, positive Kernig's sign, or Brudzinski's sign, may also be noted (Greenberg, 2001). Patients may present with an altered level of consciousness caused by massive hemorrhage, increased intracranial pressure (ICP), or hydrocephalus (Greenberg; Hickey).