What Caused Bret Michaels' Brain Hemorrhage?

An accident a year ago at the Tony Awards might have caused the rock and reality star's hemorrhage this week—but then again, it might not have

By Leslie Gornstein Apr 26, 2010 10:04 PMTags
Bret Michaelsbretmichaels.com

We know Bret Michaels has a hemorrhage. Do we know what caused it?
—Rosenfie, via Twitter

There are several theories hanging around, much like groupies backstage at a Poison concert: None of them are particularly useful at the moment, but some are looking more attractive than others.

To confuse matters, the one possible cause that's being floated by Bret Michaels' family may actually be the least likely culprit:

For those of you following from the bleacher seats, the Poison frontman and reality-show regular is suffering from a hemorrhage that is causing bleeding around his brain. He has been in the hospital for several days and is listed in critical condition, though he is able to speak.

As of this moment, no one from Michaels' camp has definitively said what caused the bleeding. However, it's generally known that Michaels' type of bleeding is triggered by an aneurysm—a weakness in a blood vessel that causes leakage of blood.

Michaels is no stranger to medical problems; he also suffers from diabetes.

Michaels' father, Wally Sychak, has spoken to the media about his son in recent days. Sychak told Radar Online that doctors suspect Michaels' hemorrhage—and emergency appendectomy earlier this month—both stemmed from the diabetes.

However, I spoke to a neurosurgeon this morning who said that diabetes isn't a likely direct cause.

"It's hard to link the two" directly, says Dr. Arno H. Fried, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. "If Michaels had had a stroke, for example, and the bleeding was from a stroke, then you could have a direct link."

(No mention has been made so far of a stroke. It may come to light that Michaels did have a stroke resulting from his diabetes, and the stroke subsequently caused the bleeding, but we just don't know right now.)

I also asked Fried about the other big theory surrounding Michaels's condition: the infamous 2009 stage accident.

During a live performance at the Tony Awards, a huge set piece was pretty much lowered directly on top of Michaels' head, fracturing his nose. He was treated at the scene, but not much of that incident has been mentioned since.

"There is something called a traumatic aneurysm, caused by injury," Fried explains. "Usually you know about those sooner than a year after the injury. But it is still conceivable" that the Tonys incident is connected to Michaels' current condition, he says.

Also, don't be surprised if the aneurysm that caused the bleeding has nothing to do with any of the above.

"It could very likely just be congenital"—a condition Michaels was born with, Fried tells me. "Many people have aneurysms and they never know it."

Whatever the cause, let's hope Michaels' recovery is a speedy one.

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