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Girlfriend has suspect SAH

Guest imagination75

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Guest imagination75


My girlfriend collapsed, blacking out for a short while. She described feeling as though someone had hit her on the back of her head with a shovel.

She felt sick afterwards. The next day she complained of a major head ache and was violently sick through out the night. Yet despite this - she continued with her job for two weeks. After the first week she saw her GP, who prescribed her Tramzipam assuming this was just a whiplash injury.

After the two weeks she told me she had collapsed in the car park - up until now I only knew about the head aches. On hearing this I made her go and see another GP. The GP wrote a letter and made us go immediately to A&E. This doctor as well as giving us the letter wrote on a piece of paper, Subarachnoid Haemorrhage. He insisted I showed this to the hospital and not let anyone fob us off with 'its just a headache'.

At hospital I saw with my girlfriend in the resas room whilst various tests were carried out. The initial consultant took a history and stated the syptoms did indeed sound like that of SAH. A CAT scan, xray and full blood tests were done. All negative. This consultant stated that due to the suspected first bleed having happened two weeks ago, the chances of it being shown up on a CAT scan were extremley low.

She was admitted to hospital and put under another constulant who was useless in my opinion. A lumbar puncture was performed, however this was negative. Again, we were told the chances of any blood traces being present were very low due to two weeks passing.

My girlfriend remained on the ward for a further three days whilst she was monitored. She was released on a cocktail of pain killers and told although they suspected an initial SAH they could not prove this due to two weeks having passed. She was given no aftercare advice, purley told she could leave and nothing else.

Four weeks on from the inital collapse, she is laying in bed as I write resting. She has constant headaches, is tired, finds strong light unsetteling. She saw another GP about this who stated he would contact the hospital and they would either, a - contact her, b - write to her or c, do nothing!! This other GP stated taking the full patient history again and questionning whether this could be to do with her back. (she has had back problems before, however she never suffers from headaches)

I am absoultley amazed at the lack of patient care. She cannot be bothered anymore with seeing doctors as they all seem unwilling to help or understand the problem.

I personally think she should be going in for another CAT scan and possibly an angiogram (I did some research and read about these on the Net). If as suspected, she had the initial bleed - the hospital should be keeping a closer eye on her. Surley there is still a chance of a secondary bleed. I know the four week window has passed, but because the cause was never found and treated there must still be a risk.

Does anyone have any experience of such a situation. The majority of cases here involve the cause being found and treated with a 'coil'


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Hello there

Sori to hear you are going through such a rough time it is very worrying. Like most of the folk on this site we have all being misdiagnosed intially. My first bleed they couldn't do the Lumbar Puncture and the Scan was inconclusive. It was the Angio that eventually showed it up. It May not be a bleed but all the symptoms sound like I had.

One of the things I regret is not making them listen to me when they discharged me with a migraine the first time. So if you have concerns I would certainly push them. I think they are reluctant to do Angio's as they do have a slight risk as do all procedures, but it took the Angio to show up my problem. So I would say yes push them if you have really concerns. Sori the site is always quiet at the weekend you might get more advice on Monday.

Good Luck

Aine xox

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I had similar circumstances, 4 years prior to this bleed.....my story is on the homepage of the site.

I've been led to believe that traces of blood would show up in a lumbar puncture weeks and months after a bleed.....as it takes quite a while for the blood to dissapate down the spinal cord.....hopefully, If I'm wrong somebody will correct me here? I can also remember telling the Consultant about my "warning" bleed, 4 years earlier and he said then, that I should have been given a lumbar puncture and that the blood will show up for quite a long period of time.

I think that you have to go with your gut feeling here and if you're not happy with the outcome and your girlfriend is still feeling quite poorly, get a 2nd or a third opinion .... Not all of us SAH'ers present with the same type of symptoms.....the 2nd time I had the SAH, it was quite a bit different to the 1st time. Only your girlfriend will know if this is something that's very different to anything that she's ever experienced.....if she's in any doubt at all, keep hammering at the GP's door.....a cerebral angiogram is definetly the way to go, if you can get the GP to refer her.

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Guest Firefly

:( I am so sorry about your girlfriend!!

She needs to go back to the hospital or find a good Neurosurgeon ASAP!! She needs to demand this be checked out and taken care of!!! It certainly sounds to me like she has one!!!! She should be treated ASAP!!

She needs a angiogram!!! Sometimes you have to be very agressive to get help! I called my insurance company and told them how poorly I was treated, they told me to pick any NS I wanted to go to for a 2nd opinion!!! You need to find a new GP also!!! One that has a lot of "Vascular patients, like stroke, heart, us...

Mine has helped me so much, more than the specialist I tried!! He is caring and listens, knows his stuff!!

I went through h*** trying to get a diagnosis too!! I went to the ER 3 times and saw 3 Dr's before they thought they figured mine out, they did a CT, 2 MRI's. By this time I found my own NS!! I had a ruptured 4mm aneurysm. I went too long without treatment and have a long recover due to the lack of diagnosis and care from the first doctors! If I had not persued it on my own, I would not be here!! My Ns told me I weas very lucky to have gone so long without treatment! I have a stent and coils next to my left optical artery. I am almost 2 years post rupture.

Ironic, I have had 3 back surgeries but, that has nothing to do with my head!!! Sometimes the Dr.'s come up with the strangest "reason"??

:!: Please get her help, go to a different hospital. Is there one that specializes in brain surgeries & Aneurysms?? If she has a leak or rupture, she needs help and time is of the essance!!! Call hospitals and ask if they have aneurysm specialist??? We just had a hospital here open a brain injury and aneurysm wing. Please find her help, fast!! I know, I have been through it and it is so frustrating when you feel like she does!!! But this is nothing to mess with if she does have a anuerysm!!! God bless her!! I am glad you did research!! :wink:

I will be keeping her in my prayers, :wink: Please let us know what you do???? God bless you for being by her side!!

Most sincerely and very worried!! Tricia

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Hi-you don't say where in the world you are but my first thought is angio and MRI scans.

I am not totally sure how long the bleed (if that is what it is can be detected-but the headaches and ligt sensitivity suggest that it could be an SAH.

I hope you get this resolved soon

Andy P

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Speak to your local PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services)


and speak to them, I would be demanding an Angio or at the very least access to a Neurologist.

On the symptons and after effects side she's been through a potentially life threatening experience and needs support from the people around her. Brain injuries can have a wide spectrum of outcomes and it's very much down to the individual on how much they either recover or lose. (invidual case that is)

Hope you get the help you need.


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Hi there

Sorry to hear about your girlfriend keep onto them I was misdiagnosed for three weeks everybody including myself putting the blame on my back.

It was only due to my wife causing a fuss that they gave me a scan and lumbar puncture ( three weeks after initial symptoms) and they still found blood in my spine. I was then coiled the following day. Keep onto them, get on their nerves, pressurise them, persecute them, do whatever it takes. Its a pity u have to do it these days but as u can see from this site you are not on your own. Good luck and all the best to your girlfriend hopefully your next visit to this site will be good news.



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Guest goldie

Sorry to hear about your girlfriend...I hope she finds out very soon, this is nothing to mess with....I agree an angiogram is a great test for annies...I'll keep her in my prayers...good luck to both of you...take care Cindy

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Guest imagination75

Thank you for all your replies.

I phoned the emergency doctor on Saturday and insisted she was seen. The doctor wrote us a referral note and we went straight to hospital that day.

Unbelievably, the doctor there looked up her previous visit records and started saying she could not have had a SAH due to the two tests being negative.

The doctor also said that she couldn't have had a SAH as she still had the headaches. I have researched this and I can see just alone from this site that head aches, tiredness is very much part of the recovery process for people who have had SAH.

I argued with him, telling him the first consultant did not agree and that the two tests were not enough to conclusively state the SAH did not occur.

I further pointed out that she now had an occasional tear from the right eye and also some dribbling from the right side of her mouth.

Whilst my girlfriend was in hospital this time, again they prescribed her Oromorph (not sure on spelling).

The doctor phoned the constultant Neuroligist's department after instance from us. The doctor came back explaining the Neurology department will make an emergency appointment to see us in the next few days.

The Neurology department stated that she should never have been given Oromorph, Co-Codomal or Brufen by the hospital.

The hospital admitted this mistake and now she has been prescribed a betablocker, paracetomal, Voltorol and Amitriptyline (an anti depresent @ 10mg).

I have taken some advice about the anti depressent and I am informed this is not used exlusively to treat depression, rather it can be used for neurological medicinal purposes.

I am pleased too that she will be under the care of Neurology Consultant Dr Price from Sheffield. I have heard good things about this doctor. I am pressing for consideration of an angiogram and MRI.

Thank you so much for your posts. I feel sorry for people on their own who do not have the strength to question, probe and challenge the medical profession. My girlfriend had just about given up.

Hopefully she will get the correct care under a Neurology department.

Why is SAH so misunderstood by general doctors? Why does it take a non medical person to challenge the medical profesion to get the right answers and medication?

We were told by the hospital they would make an 'emergency appointment' with Consultant Doctor Sian Price and we would hear back by post. Yeah Right! I shall be on the phone to Dr Price's PA on Tuesday (UK is public holiday today) to get the appointment sorted ASAP. I don't trust the hospital or GP's any more.


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A lot of us didn't push and hence ending up in a "life and death" situation...good for you and keep on keeping on! :) The mortality rate from SAH is pretty bad and that stems from not getting the right diagnosis in the first place .... SAH might be rare, but it's not that uncommon....it's about time that GP's and hospital medics started to take people seriously and you really have to keep pushing if you feel that something isn't right.

Even if an aneurysm isn't found, you can still have a SAH......sometimes the cause isn't found, but the prognosis of a non-aneurysmal SAH is pretty good......we have many people on this site that have had the same, but they still suffer the same after affects of a bleed and the mental trauma.

Good luck to you and your girlfriend.....

By the way, MRI is not always the best test for SAH......MRA is better and it will show up up the arteries a lot clearer.......a cerebral angio is even better.

PS. The Doc that says headaches aren't part of the aftermath of a SAH? He obviously needs to be trained up on the subject....it's hard to believe that's what you were told.... :shock:

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Guest imagination75

Girlfriend visited the Neurologist today. Apparently all the symptoms she has are classic examples of SAH.

I wasn't at the appointment, but apparently the doctor was most annoyed at the GP who simply dismissed the initial episode as whiplash. The neuro doctor phoned up the surgery in front of girlfriend and let rip with how serious SAH is to them.

The neurologist also stated the previous doctors were quite wrong to state that for girlfriend SAH was ruled out.

Because she is out of the four week period, the doctor was happy for her to rest at home. To be honest, it is really hard to get a good nights sleep on an NHS ward these days ! Last time she was on the ward, she just ended up getting really stressed. The doctor stated they can't do the angiogram until next week.

I will be keeping a close eye on her. The Neuro department will perform an angiogram on her next week and deal with anything found then and there.

There are other things this could be apparently although we won't know for sure until after the scan.

It was confirmed that the beta blocker drugs were the correct medication in her case. I cannot believe the incompetence of the previous doctors. The beta blockers have made a good improvement on her headaches.


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Hiya, I'm also on beta blockers and they do help with the heads, anxiety, lowering the blood pressure and making you feel calmer. I'm glad that your girlfriend is going to have a cerebral angio .... it should give you both some peace of mind. :)

No, it's not fun trying to rest up in hospital......you're probably a lot better off at home.....well, sleep wise anyway......I found that trying to get any sleep in hospital was nigh impossible.

Wishing you the very best of luck for next week ....

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No hospitals aren't the best place to rest. I was readmitted a week after I got out of hospital because the headaches were so bad I couldn't sit up or lift my head without wanting to pass out due to the pain. The put me on a "fast track ward" and I had a bed next to some poor soul who needed a nebuliser every hour - no good for someone in the next bed who is suffering from the mother of all headaches . i.e. me! Then there's tea trolley smashing around and the bins being slammed. There are also the awful nurses who are telling you to sit up and won't listed when you explain that actually you can't cos the pain is so ****** bad - I actually ended up shouting at one :oops:

Rest is probably the best thing for your girlfriend right now and make sure she has fluids.

Got fingers and toes crossed for the news when she has the angio.

Sami xxx

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Guest imagination75

Hi All,

My girlfriend had her cerebral angiogram yesterday. Thankfully nothing was found. The radiologist has stated although there was nothing obvious (and that he would have operated there and then if there was), he would take the images away and study them further in depth.

She is in a bit of pain from where they made an incision at the side of the groin on the leg. Nothing life threatnening there (bleeding has stopped), just a little uncomfortable.

He said at this time there was no medical proof she had SAH. He conceeded that it did sound like she had a small one and perhaps it repaired itself.

Interestingly, a different nurologist at Hallamshire Hospital told me lumbar puncture is sensitive to blood weeks after SAH. I challanged him on this and why some of his colleagues had different opinions and he just told me that 'at the end of the day, the consultant on the day is in charge of your treatment. Different consultants will have different opinions' !!! :shock:

He didn't exactly answer my quesion.

We await a follow up appointment from the neurologist registrar. It would appear we have now done all the required tests. My girlfriend knows that any sevre headache in the future or her lifetime must result in a 999 call then and there (and not a week later).

Imagination 75

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