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Subdural hematoma

What is a subdural hematoma?

A subdural hematoma is commonly a result of a brain trauma or head injury in which the blood cells collect on the brain’s surface below the skull a subdural hematoma can be a life-threatening condition.

Subdural Hematoma can be acute or chronic depending on the type of injury. Acute subdural hematoma commonly occur from a severe injury and chronic subdural heamtoma caused by a minor head injury.

A blood clot present on the surface of the brain is also known as a subdural hematoma.

How do subdural hematoma form?

The subdural hematoma occurs when an artery or vein between the skull and the brain’s surface ruptures.

Acute subdural hematoma

An acute subdural hematoma is caused when blood clot forms between the surface of the brain and the outer tough covering of brain that is dura matter. Acute Subdural Hematoma is the result of the tearing and stretching of veins on the brain’s surface. The veins if the brain may rupture when a head injury suddenly jolts or shake the brain.

An acute subdural hematoma can be caused by

  • Car accident
  • A blow to the head
  • Falling

Acute subdural hematoma forms fast and the symptoms appear immediately.

Chronic Subdural Hematoma

Chronic Subdural Hematoma is commonly caused by mild or repeated head traumas, these are common in old age adults who repeatedly fall and get their head hit. Some of the chronic subdural hematomas may occur without any cause.

The higher rates of this situation in old aged adults may also be because the brain shrinks with the age. This results in more space in the skull, that allow the veins to be damaged more easily during head trauma.

Symptoms of chronic subdural hematoma don’t show symptoms immediately it may not appear for several weeks.

A chronic subdural hematoma is easier to treat as compared to an acute subdural hematoma. However, they may still cause life-threatening complications.

What are the symptoms of a subdural hematoma?

Acute subdural hematoma shows symptoms immediately but people with chronic subdural hematoma may have no symptoms. The symptoms of chronic subdural hematoma can be similar to the symptoms of strokes, tumors, or other brain problems.

Symptoms of a subdural hematoma include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Vision problems
  • Severe headaches

How is subdural hematoma diagnosed?

To diagnose a subdural hematoma CT and MRI scans are very useful. These scans give a detailed image of the internal structure of the brain. Your doctor will be able to see the clots, veins, skulls, and other blood vessels.

These scans also reveal if there is any blood on the brain.

Your doctor may also order you a CBC (complete blood count). In a complete blood count test the measurement of red blood count, white blood count, and platelet count are taken. Blood loss is shown by a low level in red blood cells.

How a subdural hematoma is treated?

The only treatment of an acute subdural hematoma is surgery. The surgical procedure to treat an acute subdural hematoma is known as a craniotomy. In this procedure, a large-sized of subdural hematoma is removed. Normally an acute subdural hematoma is treated with this treatment procedure. In this procedure, your surgeon removes a section of the skull in order to access the hematoma or blood clot. After that, they use suction and irrigation to remove the clot.

A craniotomy can be a necessary life-saving procedure is the case of an acute subdural hematoma.

Chronic subdural hematoma and acute subdural hematoma smaller than one centimeter both can be drained by a burr hole. Your surgeon creates small holes in your skull and then places a rubber tube in them. Through these holes, the blood from the hematoma is drained out.

Anti-seizure medications are also prescribed to prevent seizures. Other medications are also prescribed to treat brain damage. To reduce inflammation in the brain corticosteroids are often prescribed.

Complications of subdural hematoma

Complications of subdural hematoma may occur soon after the trauma or sometime after the trauma has been treated.

The complications of subdural hematoma include:

  • Brain herniation, which puts pressure on the brain and may result in coma or death.
  • Seizures
  • Permanent muscle weakness or numbness