Subdural Hematoma

(Extra-axial Haematoma; Subdural Haemorrhage; SDH)

Definition

A hematoma is a collection of blood. A subdural hematoma develops in the space between the covering of brain (the dura) and the inside of the skull. This pool of blood can put pressure on the brain and cause a range of symptoms.

Causes

A subdural hematoma is most often caused by a head injury. The injury may be caused by traumas such as falls, car accidents, or physical abuse. It can also occur spontaneously.
Head Injury
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Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of a subdural hematoma include:

Symptoms

The blood may pool quickly or take some time to build up. This will affect how fast symptoms develop. The subdural hematoma may be:
  • Acute—symptoms appear soon after the injury
  • Subacute—symptoms appear a few days after the injury
  • Chronic—bleeding is slower and symptoms only appear weeks after the injury
After a head injury, a subdural hematoma may cause the following symptoms:
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bruising around the head or eyes
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Personality changes
  • Limb weakness
  • Fatigue/sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Speech difficulties
  • Vision problems
Seek medical care right away if you have any of these symptoms after a head injury.

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