Subdural Hematoma

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Subdural hematoma is a condition that develops when blood collects under the dura (protective covering of the brain). The dura expands and compresses the brain. The compression can lead to serious medical problems including seizure, coma, and death.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

You could get an infection after surgery. You may have seizures if your brain continues to swell. Even with treatment, a subdural hematoma may return. If left untreated, a subdural hematoma may cause brain damage, numbness, permanent body weakness, coma, and even death.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Activity:

You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.

ICP monitor:

ICP stands for intracranial pressure. An ICP monitor is a small tube that is put through the skull and into the head. The tubing is connected to a TV-type screen. Caregivers use the ICP monitor to keep an ongoing measurement of the pressure inside your skull (the bones of your head).

Neurologic exam:

This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show caregivers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. Caregivers will check how your pupils (black dots in the center of each eye) react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.

Medicines:

  • Anticonvulsant medicine: This medicine is given to control seizures. Take this medicine exactly as directed.

  • Diuretics: You may get diuretic medicine to help decrease swelling in your brain. This may help your brain get better blood flow.

  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.

Tests:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray and computer are used to take pictures of your skull and brain. You may be given dye, also called contrast, before the test. Tell the caregiver if you are allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood.

  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your brain. It will also take pictures of the blood vessels and structures in your head. You may be given dye, also called contrast, before the test. Tell caregivers if you are allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood. Remove all jewelry, and tell caregivers if you have any metal in or on your body. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell caregivers if you cannot lie still or are anxious or afraid of closed spaces.

Surgery:

This is the only treatment that can remove the blood from under the dura.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Subdural Hematoma (Inpatient Care)

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