What happens in the brain when a subdural hematoma forms?
The collection of blood forms a hematoma, which puts pressure on the brain tissue. When the pressure from an active bleed builds and goes unrelieved, people can suffer serious injuries or even death. Acute subdural hematomas are among the most lethal of head injuries, with a mortality rate of between 50-90%. 30% of fatal head injuries include an acute subdural hematoma.
Although a traumatic head injury is often the cause of an SDH, even a minor head injury can cause a cranial bleed in some people. There are some risk factors that can contribute to a SDH but it is possible for someone to suffer cranial bleeding spontaneously as well. Some risk factors include:
- Infants or very young children
- Anticoagulant medication
- Repeated head injuries
- Alcohol abuse
- Lethargy or confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Speech impairment
- Visual problems
After any injury to the head, doctors and hospitals need to be tuned in to patient complaints and be mindful of the symptoms of a subdural hematoma. When identified early, patients who sustain a head injury are more likely to have better outcome and survival rate. Depending on the size of the hematoma, surgery may be required.
- In a small SDH less than 1 cm in diameter at the thickest point, surgery may not be required.
- In the case of a larger SDH of 1 cm or larger, a craniotomy may be required where surgery is performed through a hole in the skull to remove the clot and to surgical repair bleeding areas.
Prognosis for those who need surgery for a SDH varies on the type, size and quantity of contusions to the brain. Younger patients and those who receive immediate medical attention have a higher rate of recovery. An estimated 20-30% of patients who undergo surgical removal of a SDH will fully recover.
There is a high frequency of seizures in persons who have had a SDH. The after effects vary greatly depending on the severity, location and the individual. Although full recovery is possible, many may have long-term and even permanent physical and cognitive disabilities from their injury.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents clients who have sustained subdural hematomas due to accident related trauma or falls in medical facilities. Our Chicago lawyers are available to speak with you for a free consultation at any time. (888) 424-5757