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Subdural hematoma: symptoms, treatment and sequelae

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The brain’s surface is covered by membranes called meninges, which have as their primary function and produce a substance called cerebrospinal fluid to protect the central nervous system. They are three membranes that go from the outside to the inside and are called the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater. Between the dura and the arachnoid is the subdural space which allows the gliding between these membranes. This space can give locality to intracranial lesions such as subdural hematoma. Next, this article by FastlyHealwill explains everything about subdural hematoma: symptoms, treatment, and sequelae.

What is a subdural hematoma?

hematoma is an accumulation of blood in a space, so when we talk about subdural hematoma, we refer to the hematoma that is located in the subdural space, a space located below the dura, which is the outermost meninx, and, therefore, above the arachnoid, which is the middle layer of the meninges.

A subdural hematoma usually appears after severe head trauma, producing bleeding that fills the brain perimeter very quickly. It is considered one of the most severe injuries that can originate in a person since it compresses the brain tissue and can lead to death.

The accumulation of blood appears because, during the trauma, the blood vessels that are located on the surface of the brain are going to break as a consequence of the stretching that occurs. However, on some occasions, a subdural hematoma can appear spontaneously and has been associated with people under administration of anticoagulants, who have drunk alcohol for a long time, and falls, among other factors.

Many older adults can have a subdural hematoma because their veins are often stretched due to brain shrinkage, making them more prone to head injuries but not as severe, so their bleeding will be lighter and slower.

Symptoms of subdural hematoma

The symptoms of subdural hematoma will depend on the affected area and the intensity; they develop quickly and appear in minutes, although sometimes they can develop slowly, especially in elderly patients. The most commonly seen symptoms are:

  • Persistent headache
  • General weakness
  • Drowsiness.
  • State of confusion.
  • Fainting.
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting .
  • Paralysis on one side of the body, usually opposite the injury.
  • Difficulty speaking correctly.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Seizures
  • Swelling from understanding.

Treatment for subdural hematoma

Treatment for subdural hematoma will depend on the intensity and cause of its appearance. For example, older adults many times do not require treatment because the blood will be absorbed naturally.

Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment is indicated in severe subdural hematomas with severe clinical manifestations, that is, those with persistent headaches, confusion, and paralysis on the side opposite the injury, among others. For this, the doctor will be in charge of making a small perforation in the skull, depending on the condition, since sometimes it is necessary to create a giant hole when the bleeding is recent or when the small one cannot drain properly. Once the surgery is performed, a drainage tube will be left for several days to prevent the hematoma reappearing.


An alternative treatment is used, which is pharmacological if the patient cannot undergo surgery and the symptoms need to be calmed. Among the drugs of choice, we have:

  • Steroid-based medications to decrease inflammation.
  • Diuretics avoid brain inflammation because they improve blood flow.
  • Anticonvulsant drugs when the patient has episodes of seizures.

Ideally, if you have suffered from this condition, keep adequate bed rest; it should also be constantly checked to verify that there is no more bleeding. If the subdural hematoma is not treated, it can cause:

  • Permanent brain damage.
  • Paralysis.
  • Body weakness
  • Coma.
  • It can cause death.

Sequelae of subdural hematoma

After suffering a subdural hematoma, likely, you will not suffer specific symptoms or clinical manifestations, as well as you may need a particular therapy or one considered regular. The reappearance of symptoms is rare, but if it does occur, the control of these side effects or sequelae is not easily intervened because of their severity, especially in people of very advanced ages. That is why it is essential that if, after your intervention, you have any symptoms that we will mention below, call your doctor and consult. The possible sequelae of subdural hematoma are:

  • Brain damage.
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness or vomiting
  • Difficult to focus.
  • Memory loss.
  • Anxiety.
  • Persistent headache
  • Reappearance.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Subdural Hesymatoma: symptoms, treatment and sequelae , we recommend that you enter our Brain and Nerves category .

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