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Subdural Hematoma

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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

Monitoring:

  • ICP monitor keeps an ongoing measurement of the pressure inside your skull (the bones of your head). 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.

  • Neurological exams show healthcare providers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. Healthcare providers 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. You may be given a neurological exam every hour.

Medicines:

  • Diuretics are given to help decrease swelling in your brain. This may help your brain get better blood flow.

  • Anticonvulsants may be given to prevent and control seizures.

Tests:

CT or MRI pictures of your brain may show blood in the dura. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

Surgery

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

RISKS:

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.

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.

© 2015 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.

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