BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies suggest that the intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) rate correlates with alcohol consumption. Alcohol leads to elevated blood pressure (BP) and inhibition of platelet aggregation. These factors could promote excessive bleeding. To our knowledge, in the setting of normal liver function tests, there are no studies that have systematically evaluated the relationship between daily alcohol use and hematoma expansion. The aim of this study is to compare the baseline ICH characteristics, frequency of hematoma expansion, and outcomes in patients with ICH who are daily alcohol users with those who are not daily alcohol users. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed on consecutive patients who presented from July 2008 to July 2013 to the Tulane University Hospital in New Orleans, La., USA, with a spontaneous ICH. Ninety-nine patients who met these criteria were admitted. Patients who underwent hematoma evacuation were excluded. Hemorrhage volumes were calculated based on the ABC/2 method. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) was dichotomized into low (<100 mg/dl) and high (≥100 mg/dl) values. Comparisons were made using t tests, χ(2) and nonparametric equivalents where appropriate. ICH growth in 24 h and LDL were evaluated using linear regression. RESULTS: Of the 226 patients who met inclusion criteria, 20.4% had a history of daily alcohol use. The average age was 61 years (range 19-94), 55.6% of the patients were males, and 67.1% were of African American origin. Daily alcohol use was associated with male gender, lower rate of home antihypertensive, higher presenting BP, and lower platelet counts, but there was no difference in ICH characteristics, ICH growth, or clinical outcome. Daily alcohol use in patients with a low LDL level was associated with supratentorial location and trends for lower baseline Glasgow Coma Scale score, higher ICH score, and follow-up ICH volume, but no significant difference in significant hematoma expansion or clinical outcome except for a trend for higher mortality was found (25 vs. 9.5%, p = 0.1311) compared to patients with high LDL values. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that neither chronic daily alcohol use nor a low LDL level in combination with daily alcohol use can be used to predict ICH growth. Daily alcohol use was associated with untreated hypertension and higher BP on presentation. A low LDL level in combination with daily alcohol use may be linked with larger and more severe ICH, but we were unable to demonstrate a relationship with hematoma expansion or poor clinical outcome. The role of LDL in vessel fragility and clot stabilization needs to be further explored before concluding that a low LDL level confers risk of bleeding.