Q: What are the symptoms of CAA?

A: The blood that leaks out of a vessel damaged by CAA can cause the surrounding region of the brain to suddenly stop working properly, resulting in symptoms like weakness or paralysis of the limbs, difficulty speaking, loss of sensation or balance, or even coma. If blood leaks out to the sensitive tissue around the brain, it can cause a sudden and severe headache. Other symptoms sometimes caused by irritation of the surrounding brain are seizures (convulsions) or short spells of temporary neurologic symptoms such as tingling or weakness in the limbs or face.

The image to the right is a section of the brain at autopsy in a patient who died after a CAA-related bleeding stroke. The dark area in the lower right has been destroyed by leakage of blood into the brain.