Subdural Hematoma 101: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Subdural Hematoma 101: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Dec 01, 2021

What is Subdural Hematoma?

A subdural hematoma is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when blood accumulates in the space between the surface of the brain and its outermost protective layer.

The subdural hematoma (SDH) can result in death if not treated properly. It is typically caused by head trauma that is why it is important to seek a head injury treatment in ER to get a proper assessment.

SDHs are generated when the veins that drain blood from the brain become inflamed and bleed. This bleeding leads to pressure on the brain, which can cause it to herniate or move out of position. The bleeding also prevents adequate oxygen and other nutrients from reaching the brain, which results in damage to the neurons and tissue in this area.

The first sign of SDH is often a change in behavior or thinking patterns after a head injury, such as irritability, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, or convulsions.

Other symptoms of subdural hematoma depend on how much blood has collected but can include headache, vomiting, seizures, or loss of consciousness. Unless the blood is drained quickly with surgery or other intervention, it will continue to accumulate and put pressure on nearby brain tissue.

What are the Types of Subdural Hematomas?

Subdural hematomas are uncommon and usually occur after an injury to the head, such as major trauma or fall.

There are three types of subdural hematomas: acute, chronic, and mixed. Acute hematomas develop quickly and can be life-threatening because they will deprive your brain of oxygen, and there may not be any symptoms for a while. It is crucial to visit an ER for subdural hematoma for immediate treatment.

Chronic hematomas form gradually and can produce symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, difficulty with memory, or speech loss.

Mixed hematomas occur when an acute subdural hematoma progresses into chronic.

What are the Causes of Subdural Hematoma?

The most common causes of subdural hematoma include a traumatic injury to the head or an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (AVM) rupture.

When there is a trauma to the head, the head and brain rotate around their longitudinal axis. This causes the bridging veins in the center of the brain to stretch. This stretching causes a tear in these veins, which in turn causes a subdural hematoma.

The hematoma size varies, depending on how much blood accumulates in that part of the brain. A small hematoma can cause localized symptoms, whereas a large hematoma can cause significant disability or death.

What are the Symptoms of Subdural Hematoma?

The main symptom of a subdural hematoma is a bump on the head caused by an injury to the head and falls.

There are several warning signs or symptoms that will let you know if you have a subdural hematoma. The most common symptom is a headache which can be incapacitating and linger for days or weeks. Other symptoms include confusion, sleepiness, nausea or vomiting, and seizures associated with a worsening headache or any other sign of injury to the head.

Who is at Risk of Subdural Hematoma?

There are several risk factors for subdural hematoma, the most obvious one being falls. Falls usually happen when the person is getting up or down from a seated or lying position.

However, older people are more at risk of subdural hematoma. As we age, our balance becomes less stable, which increases our risk of falling. Additionally, other medical conditions could increase one’s susceptibility to subdural hematomas, such as high blood pressure and chronic headaches.

When Should You Get Emergency Treatment if You Have Had a Head Injury?

Emergency care for head injuries is not something you can ignore. You need to be aware of the symptoms of a head injury so that you can take the appropriate steps.

The symptoms of a head injury are often hard to identify because there are so many possible causes for them. If your symptoms don’t seem to be improving or if they worsen, or if they get worse during the day, then you need to visit an emergency room near you right away.

A head injury can seem small and insignificant, but it could lead to more problems down the line. It is best to get care right away and not ignore it at all costs.

The danger of head trauma is that it’s often not immediately apparent. A person might not experience symptoms until hours, days, or weeks later.

Few symptoms need to be present for you to go to the emergency room. If you have confusion, memory loss, or pain on one side of the head should go to seek hematoma emergency treatment.

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Visit Express ER for assistance if you have been in a car accident or fall.

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