Haematoma is generally referred as a blood clot. It can appear as a bruise under the skin, which is called as skin hematoma. Skin haematomas are considered safe, but others forms of hematoma such as epidural, subdural and subchorionic haematoma are potentially dangerous.
Chronic subdural haematomas are also known as subdural haemorrhage (SDH). Chronic subdural hematomas are an old collection of blood on the surface of the brain beneath the outer covering (dura). For the same reason, the injury is also known as cerebral hematoma.
It often occurs after minor head trauma or less severe head injuries. Chronic subdural haematoma usually begins forming several days or weeks after bleeding originally starts. This is the reason why the cause of bleeding is not identified in 50 percent of cases, particularly in the elderly.
Subdural hemaetoma are usually life-threatening when acute, but chronic subdural haematomas have more chance of being cured if properly managed. Subdural haematomas can be classified into the following three types:
This classification depends on the speed of their onset. Acute subdural hematomas are the most lethal and have a high mortality rate, if they are not treated immediately with surgical decompression.
Chronic subdural haematomas usually occur because of bleeding due to head injury. In rare cases, it may form due to unknown reason and without any trauma.
Some of the other risk factors for chronic cerebral haematomas include:
Chronic subdural hematomas often occur in elderly patients, mostly 60 and older who have brain atrophy. The main reason behind it is a brain tissue getting wasted or shrink due to age factor. When the brain shrinks inside the skull in elderly age, minor head injury can easily cause tearing of blood vessels over the brain surface (dura), resulting in a slow accumulation of blood.
Therefore, the risk of chronic subdural hematoma is higher in elderly people and it is increased even further if they receive anticoagulants.
There may not be any chronic subdural haematoma symptoms unless it grows larger and puts severe pressure on the brain. In an advance stage, it can cause permanent brain damage. The exact chronic subdural haematoma symptoms depend on the size and location of the hematoma.
The patients may experience the following symptoms:
If the clot is large, paralysis and condition of coma can occur. It is important to seek emergency medical help in this condition and this is the reason why it is important to diagnose chronic subdural haematoma on time and treat it immediately.
If your doctor thinks that you have a chronic subdural hematoma, you will be advised to undergo further testing. Typically it needs a test like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) for accurate diagnosis.
Burr-hole surgery recovery time is less as compared to craniotomy. However, you need to stay in hospital for more than 3 to 5 weeks and need to rest at home for further 6 to 8 weeks. It is suggested to avoid any contact sport and activity which may have a risk of head injury for at least 12 weeks after the surgery.
There are many complications associated with chronic subdural haematomas. However, these complications are rare and the doctors take all efforts to stop them from coming at the first place.
Some rare complications associated with chronic subdural haematomas may include:
Chronic subdural haematoma may have some long-term side effects as well. These include emotional, physical and cognitive impairments. However, if the chronic subdural haematomas is diagnosed and treated early, there are less chances of long term impairment.
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