Skip to main content

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)?

SAH is a type of hemorrhagic stroke that causes bleeding in the subarachnoid space. This space is under the protective tissues that cover the brain. SAH happens when a blood vessel bursts. SAH is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical care.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

What increases my risk for SAH?

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

The words BE FAST can help you remember and recognize warning signs of a stroke:


What are the signs and symptoms of SAH?

Rarely, you may have no signs or symptoms. You may have a sudden, severe headache that is worse than any headache you have ever had. This may be described as a thunderclap headache. It may happen within seconds and worsen within minutes. You may have a headache for days or weeks before the severe headache occurs. You may also have the following along with a moderate or severe headache:

How is SAH diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask if you have a history of SAH, blood vessel problems, or a recent head injury. He or she will ask which medicines you are taking. You may also need the following:

How is SAH treated?

You may need any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What can I do to manage or prevent a SAH?

SAH is often caused by medical conditions that you cannot control. Healthcare providers will help you create goals for your recovery. The following lifestyle changes can help you reach your goals and lower your risk for a stroke:

Where can I find more information?

Have someone call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright Merative 2024 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.