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Subdural Hematoma


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.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Headache or seizures
  • Weakness or neck stiffness
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Fainting, loss of consciousness, or being less alert
  • Nausea and vomiting

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have a seizure.
  • Your speech is slurred.
  • You have new arm or leg weakness, numbness, or problems with balance and movement.
  • You cannot speak, or you faint.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are more sleepy or are harder to wake up than usual.
  • You have problems thinking.
  • You have blurred or double vision.
  • Your behavior or personality has changed.
  • You have repeated or forceful vomiting or you cannot keep liquids down.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • Your symptoms are getting worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for a subdural hematoma

may include any of the following:

  • Surgery is the only treatment that can remove the blood from under the dura.
  • Medicines may be used if surgery cannot be done. You may be given medicines to reduce fluid or swelling, or to prevent seizures. Medicines do not reverse your condition.
  • Bed rest may be needed if you have a small amount of blood in the dura. Healthcare providers may want to see you often or do CT or MRI scans to be sure there is no more bleeding.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or neurosurgeon within 2 days:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent head injuries:

  • Always wear a seatbelt when you are driving or riding in a car.
  • You may feel safer if you use an assistive device, such as a 4 prong (pointed) cane or a walker when walking. To keep from falling, remove loose carpeting from the floor. Using chairs with side arms and hard cushions will make it easier to get up or out of a chair. Put grab bars on the walls beside toilets and inside showers and bathtubs. These will help you get up after using the toilet or after bathing. Grab bars will also help to keep you from falling in the shower. You may want to put a shower chair inside the shower.
  • Avoid activities that are likely to cause falls.

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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.