Bret Michaels has been rushed to an LA hospital with a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage — which is bleeding in the brain and apparently Michaels’ publicist has confirmed to ABC News.com that there is bleeding at the base of his brain stem.
HollywoodLife.com consulted Dr. Dexter Sun, a neurologist at New York Presbyterian Cornell-Weill Medical College, to find out what this type of brain hemorrhage is, and what the prognosis can be.
“If this is massive and especially if the brain stem is involved, this is usually very serious,” says Dr. Sun. “If the hemorrhage was minor, usually it would resolve on it’s own. However, if it’s massive, the most common cause would be a cerebral aneurysm.”
Dr. Sun explained that if Michaels’ hemorrhage was caused by an aneurysm, he would need a very skillful brain surgeon to operate and “clip” the aneurysm to stop it.
If the hemorrhage is not caused by an aneurysm, it could be caused by a brain injury or by a blood clotting factor defect . If caused by a blood clotting factor defect, Michaels would be transfused with blood clotting factor to stop the bleeding.
It is very important to control the severe headache pain and to decrease pressure in the brain, according to Dr. Sun.
Severe headache pain can increase pressure in the brain ,which can then increase the hemorrhage and if the brain swells, it can be very dangerous if it pushes down on the brain stem, explains Dr. Sun.”The brain stem truly is the center of life — it’s the center of breathing.” Severe pressure on the brain stem can cause “‘brain herniation’ which could cause a a coma.” A brain herniation occurs when brain tissue, blood vessels and cerebrospinal fluid are pressed away from their usual position in the head.
To prevent that, doctors would make a hole in Michaels’ skull , put a catheter into the ventricles of his brain and would also give him medication to reduce the pressure.
Michaels’ doctors will also be on watch for another complication — a blood vessel spasm, which can cause a stroke. They will likely give him medication to prevent that.
Dr. Sun doesn’t believe that either Michaels diabetes or his recent emergency appendectomy are a factor in this cerebral hemorrhage unless there was a very rare and massive infection following his appendectomy. “The infection would have had to reach his brain, but that’s unlikely,” says Dr. Sun.
As for Michaels’ outcome, Dr. Suns says — “If he’s alert and talkative, that’s a good sign. If he’s talkative, the outcome is usually good.”
Let’s all hope that’s the case and that Bret is soon on his way to recovery!
- Bonnie Fuller