Chronic subdural hematoma

Alternative Names

Subdural hemorrhage – chronic; Subdural hematoma – chronic; Subdural hygroma

Definition of Chronic subdural hematoma

A chronic subdural hematoma is an “old” collection of blood and blood breakdown products between the surface of the brain and its outermost covering (the dura). The chronic phase of a subdural hematoma begins several weeks after the first bleeding.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

A subdural hematoma develops when the tiny veins that run between the dura and surface of the brain (bridging veins) tear and leak blood. This is usually the result of a head injury.

Symptoms

In some cases, there may be no symptoms However, depending on the size of the hematoma and where it presses on the brain, any of the following symptoms may occur:

Signs and tests

Your health care provider will ask questions about your medical history. The physical exam will carefully check your brain and nervous system to check for problems with:

Treatment

The goal is to control symptoms and minimize or prevent permanent damage to the brain.

Expectations (prognosis)

Chronic subdural hematomas that cause symptoms usually do not heal on their own over time. They often require surgery, especially when there are neurologic problems, seizures, or chronic headaches.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/27/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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