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Subdural Hematoma


What is a 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.

What causes or increases my risk for a subdural hematoma?

  • A head injury, such as a blow to the head or from a sudden stop after fast motion
  • Anticoagulant medicines, such as blood thinners
  • Older age
  • Medical conditions such as cancer, liver disease, and blood vessel weakness
  • Heavy alcohol use over a long period of time

What are the signs and symptoms of subdural hematoma?

  • Headache, seizures, or confusion
  • Weakness, numbness, or neck stiffness
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Fainting, loss of consciousness, or being less alert
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble walking or keeping your balance
  • Vision problems

How is a subdural hematoma diagnosed and treated?

CT or MRI pictures of your brain may show blood under the dura. You may need any of the following to treat a subdural hematoma:

  • 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.

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.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • 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.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

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

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. 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Subdural Hematoma

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

Symptoms and treatments