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Chronic subdural hematoma

  • Alternative Names

    Subdural hemorrhage - chronic; Subdural hematoma - chronic; Subdural hygroma


    Treatment

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

    • Anticonvulsant medications such as carbamazepine, lamotrigine or levetiracetam may be used to control or prevent seizures.
    • Corticosteroid medications may be used to temporarily reduce any swelling of the brain.

    Surgery may be required. This may include drilling small holes in the skull to relieve pressure and allow blood and fluids to be drained. Large hematomas or solid blood clots may need to be removed through a larger opening in the skull (craniotomy).

    Hematomas that do not cause symptoms may not require treatment.


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    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.

    Some chronic subdural hematomas return after drainage, and a second surgery may be necessary.


    Complications
    • Permanent brain damage
    • Persistent symptoms
      • Anxiety
      • Confusion
      • Difficulty paying attention
      • Dizziness
      • Headache
      • Memory loss
    • Seizures

    Calling your health care provider

    Because of the risk of permanent brain damage, call a health care provider promptly if you or someone else develops symptoms of chronic subdural hematoma. For example, call if you see symptoms of confusion, weakness ,or numbness weeks or months after a head injury in an older person.

    Take the person to the emergency room or call 911 if the person:

    • Has convulsions /seizures
    • Isn't responsive
    • Loses consciousness