Disease:Subdural hematoma


A subdural hematoma is a type of intracranial hemorrhage where blood collects between the dura mater (the outermost layer of the meninges) and the arachnoid mater (the middle layer). This condition usually occurs as a result of head trauma, where the bridging veins that connect the surface of the brain to the dural sinuses are torn, leading to bleeding into the potential space between the dura and the arachnoid layers.

Subdural hematomas can be acute, subacute, or chronic, depending on the time frame from injury to symptoms onset:

1. Acute subdural hematoma: Symptoms appear within 24-48 hours after the injury.

2. Subacute subdural hematoma: Symptoms appear within 2 days to 2 weeks after the injury.

3. Chronic subdural hematoma: Symptoms may not appear for weeks to months after the injury.


Subdural hematomas can be caused by various factors, but the primary cause is trauma to the head. Here are some common causes and risk factors associated with subdural hematomas:

1. Head Trauma: The most common cause of subdural hematomas is head injury or trauma. This trauma can result from falls, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, sports injuries, or other blunt force injuries to the head.

2. Age: Older adults are at higher risk of developing subdural hematomas due to age-related brain shrinkage and the increased fragility of blood vessels.

3. Alcohol and Substance Abuse: Chronic alcoholism and substance abuse can lead to an increased risk of falls and accidents, increasing the likelihood of head trauma and subsequent subdural hematomas.

4. Blood Thinners: Medications such as anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel) and antiplatelet agents can increase the risk of bleeding and contribute to the formation of subdural hematomas, especially in the presence of head trauma.

5. Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as coagulopathies (disorders affecting blood clotting), liver disease, and vascular malformations, can predispose individuals to develop subdural hematomas.

6. Child Abuse: In infants and young children, subdural hematomas can occur as a result of abusive head trauma, commonly known as shaken baby syndrome.

7. Repeated Head Injury: Individuals who have experienced multiple head injuries, even if the injuries are relatively minor, may be at increased risk of developing chronic subdural hematomas over time.

8. Certain Activities: Participation in high-risk activities or occupations that involve frequent head trauma, such as contact sports or military service, can increase the risk of subdural hematomas.


Symptoms of a subdural hematoma can vary depending on the size of the hematoma, the rate of bleeding, the individual's age and health, and other factors. Here are some common symptoms associated with subdural hematomas:

1. Headache: This is often a persistent and worsening headache, which may be more severe on one side of the head.

2. Confusion: Individuals with a subdural hematoma may experience confusion or disorientation. They may have trouble remembering recent events or have difficulty concentrating.

3. Nausea and vomiting: These symptoms may occur due to increased pressure on the brain.

4. Dizziness and balance problems: Subdural hematomas can affect balance and coordination, leading to feelings of dizziness or unsteadiness.

5. Weakness or numbness: Some individuals may experience weakness or numbness in one side of the body or in specific limbs.

6. Changes in vision: Blurred vision, double vision (diplopia), or other visual disturbances may occur.

7. Seizures: In some cases, subdural hematomas can trigger seizures, which may manifest as uncontrolled movements, loss of consciousness, or staring spells.

8. Altered consciousness: As the hematoma increases in size and puts more pressure on the brain, individuals may experience alterations in consciousness ranging from drowsiness to coma.

9. Personality changes: Subdural hematomas can sometimes cause changes in personality or behavior, such as irritability, aggression, or apathy.


The treatment of a subdural hematoma depends on various factors, including the size and location of the hematoma, the patient's overall health, and the severity of symptoms. Here are some common treatment approaches:

1. Observation: Small, asymptomatic subdural hematomas may not require immediate intervention. In such cases, the patient may be closely monitored through regular neurological examinations, imaging studies (such as CT scans or MRI), and observation of symptoms. The hematoma may resolve on its own over time.

2. Surgical Intervention:

- Craniotomy: In cases of larger or symptomatic subdural hematomas, surgical evacuation may be necessary. During a craniotomy, a neurosurgeon removes a portion of the skull to access the hematoma and evacuate the accumulated blood.

- Burr Hole Surgery: Another surgical option is burr hole surgery, in which small holes are drilled into the skull to allow access to the hematoma for drainage. This procedure is less invasive than a craniotomy and is often used for smaller hematomas.

- Endoscopic Surgery: Endoscopic techniques may be used to visualize and remove the hematoma, often through smaller incisions and with less disruption to surrounding tissue.

3. Medication:

- Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as pain, nausea, seizures, or increased intracranial pressure.

- In cases where the patient is taking anticoagulant medications, reversal agents may be administered to reverse the effects of the medication and minimize bleeding.

4. Ongoing Monitoring and Rehabilitation:

- Following surgical intervention or conservative management, patients with subdural hematomas may require ongoing monitoring to assess neurological function, manage complications, and monitor for signs of recurrence.

- Rehabilitation therapy, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, may be recommended to help patients regain lost function and improve quality of life.


Subdural hematomas, commonly caused by head trauma, can also occur spontaneously, especially among older adults with fragile blood vessels or underlying medical conditions predisposing them to intracranial bleeding.Symptoms of a subdural hematoma may develop gradually, particularly in cases of chronic or subacute hematomas. Prompt medical attention is crucial if someone experiences a head injury or displays worsening symptoms, as early evaluation and treatment are essential to prevent complications.