Intracranial hemorrhage and cocaine use

Joan C. Wojak, Eugene S. Flamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Cocaine use has increased rapidly over the past few years. This has led to an increase in the number and variety of cocaine-related conditions for which medical attention is sought. Among these have been several cases of intracranial hemorrhage. Four cases reported in the literature and 6 from our own institution are presented here. They represent different diagnoses including hemorrhage from aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations, hemorrhage into a tumor, and spontaneous hemorrhage with no underlying lesion with and without preexisting hypertension. Analysis of these cases suggests that the hypertension induced by cocaine secondary to sympathetic stimulation may be the common factor. Cocaine may also cause arterial spasm. Although the pathophysiology has not been entirely resolved, the clinical significance of this association is clear. Intracranial hemorrhage should be considered in the differential diagnosis whenever a patient presents with an acute alteration in neurologic examination associated with cocaine use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-715
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Cocaine
  • Hypertension
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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