Subdural hematoma are blood clots or collections of blood between the surface of your brain and your skull. They can be very dangerous, with deadly consequences if you do not receive prompt medical attention.
There are different types of bleeding in the head. One type is a subdural hematoma, which is a collection of blood between your brain and your skull caused by a torn blood vessel below a protective membrane on the brain.
Other names for a subdural hematoma include a subdural hemorrhage or an intracranial hematoma.
The brain has three different layers of meninges that protect it. The inner layer is the pia mater; the middle is the arachnoid; and the outer is called the dura mater. Epidural hematoma occur between your skull and the dura mater. A subdural hematoma occurs between the dura mater and the arachnoid layer, still beneath the skull.
Subdural hematoma are more common than epidural hematoma, and they are also more deadly.
There are two different types of subdural hematoma: acute subdural hematoma and chronic subdural hematoma.
Acute subdural hematoma: The more serious condition that forms quickly from a sustained brain trauma. Symptoms appear quickly as well — within minutes to hours. If medical assistance is not given immediately, then you can lose consciousness and die. The mortality rate for an acute subdural hematoma is 50% to 90% mortality as a result of the pressure on the brain.
Chronic subdural hematoma: Generally not as severe as acute subdural hematoma. They are caused by minor head trauma or injuries. The onset of symptoms is not immediate. Rather, symptoms might not appear for weeks, and the symptoms might be slowly evolving, so much that they are not noticeable.
A subdural hematoma is usually caused by some type of head trauma or injury. A vessel or vein tears on the surface of your brain and blood starts to collect on the surface. Alternatively, the collection of blood can be a blood clot.
Common causes are car accidents, trauma to the head, or a fall.
Symptoms of a subdural hematoma are like the symptoms of a stroke, brain tumor, or other issues in the brain. They include:
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, you should find the nearest doctor or hospital emergency department as these symptoms can mean you could have a serious brain injury.
Risk factors for a subdural hematoma vary. If the subdural hematoma is acute, the most common risk factor is people who have had a significant brain injury.
Other risk factors include the following:
Subdural hematoma are diagnosed with CT or MRI scans ordered by your doctor. If your doctor suspects you have a head injury or you inform your doctor about a recent head injury, one or both of these scans will most likely be ordered.
An MRI is the better machine to diagnose a subdural hematoma. However, a subdural hematoma CT scan is cheaper and more readily available.
With these scans, your doctor will examine your brain, skull, and veins in your head. They will be able to see if blood collected between your skull and brain, meaning that a subdural hematoma developed.
A blood test can also be ordered. If you have low red blood cell levels, the loss of blood suggests bleeding somewhere. Similarly, low blood pressure would suggest a loss of blood.
Subdural hematoma can be life-threatening. The recovery outlook is on a person-by-person basis and depends on different variables. Sometimes subdural hematoma do not have many symptoms and are minor, so no surgical intervention is needed. Your doctor will instead monitor the situation and have you come back for repeat scans. The hematoma will heal on its own and your body will absorb the bleed on its own over time.
However, other times symptoms are severe, and too much blood can pool out. If this happens, pressure on your brain will increase. If this occurs, surgical intervention will probably be needed. If the pressure on the brain continues, death can result. Two surgical interventions are:
Lastly, seizure medication is commonly prescribed for subdural hematoma patients as subdural hematoma often cause seizures in patients.
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