In a population based register of stroke (n = 536) compiled in Perth, Western Australia during an 18 month period in 1989-90, 60 cases (11%) of primary intracerebral haemorrhage were identified among 56 persons (52% men). The mean age of these patients was 68 (range 23-93) and 46 (77%) events were first ever strokes. The crude annual incidence was 35 per 100,000, with a peak in the eighth decade, and a male predominance. Deep and lobar haemorrhages each accounted for almost one third of all cases. The clinical presentations included sudden coma (12%), headache (8%), seizures (8%), and pure sensory-motor stroke (3%). Primary intracerebral haemorrhage was the first presentation of leukaemia in two cases (both fatal) and it followed an alcoholic binge in four cases. 55% had a history of hypertension. 16 (27%) patients, half of whom had a history of hypertension, were taking antiplatelet agents, and one patient was taking warfarin. There were only two confirmed cases of amyloid angiopathy. The overall 28 day case fatality was 35%, but this varied from 100% for haemorrhages in the brainstem to 22% for those in the basal ganglionic or thalamic region. Other predictors of early death were intraventricular extension of blood, volume of haematoma, mass effect, and coma and severe paresis at onset. Although based on small numbers, these data confirm the heterogeneous nature of primary intracerebral haemorrhage, but they also suggest a different clinical spectrum of this type of stroke in the community compared with the experience of specialist neurological units.
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