Chronic Subdural Hematoma

Chronic Subdural Hematoma in Thousand Oaks, CA with Dr. Taqi

Subdural hematomas occur due to blood collecting between the surface of the brain and its outer covering.

This condition can quickly become critical as blood can rapidly fill the brain area, creating significant pressure that compresses brain tissues. While there are different types of subdural hematomas that can be caused by minor to severe head injuries, they all require immediate treatment as their symptoms develop.

There are different types of subdural hematomas, and chronic subdural hematomas often occur in elderly people, very young children, or patients on blood thinning medications who experience even minor head injuries. Unfortunately, these subdural hematomas may go unnoticed for weeks.

Led by quintuple-board-certified neurointerventionalist Dr. M. Asif Taqi, our experts at Vascular Neurology of Southern California (VNSC) have advanced diagnostic procedures and technologies to safely and effectively diagnose, treat, and monitor chronic subdural hematomas to improve your overall health and wellness.

Contact us online or call us at (805) 242-4884 to schedule your chronic subdermal hematoma consultation. Our Thousand Oaks practice proudly serves patients in West Lake, Woodland Hills, Ventura, Camarillo, Calabasas, and many other areas throughout Southern California.

What Is Chronic Subdural Hematoma?

Typically caused by severe head injuries, subdural hematomas occur when blood collects between the outer covering of the brain and its surface. This condition can become dangerous as blood can quickly pool in the brain area and build pressure, which can compress and damage the brain tissue.

A chronic subdural hematoma forms from older blood clots that liquify beneath the outer covering and the surface of the brain. Often, chronic subdural hematomas occur in elderly people, age 60 and older, who have brain atrophy or shrinking of the brain, and experience minor head injuries.

As the brain shrinks due to age or disease, the subdural space grows, making it more likely for blood vessels to break. In elderly patients, subdural hematomas can go unnoticed for days or weeks, developing into chronic subdural hematoma.

graphic of brain

Types of Subdural Hematomas

Subdural hematomas are categorized by how quickly they develop, how much they bleed, and the damage they cause. All types of subdural hematoma require immediate medical attention as soon as symptoms develop to help mitigate and prevent permanent damage to the brain.

Acute Subdural Hematoma. The most dangerous type of hematoma, these hematomas present symptoms immediately after a severe head injury and may be life threatening.

Subacute Subdural Hematoma. This type of hematoma may develop symptoms in the days or weeks after a head injury.

Chronic Subdural Hematoma. This type of hematoma may cause slow bleeding in the brain, and it takes weeks or months to develop symptoms. Typically, the head injuries associated with chronic subdural hematoma are less severe but may occur from repetitive head injuries, causing a subdural hematoma. This type of hematoma typically affects older people, infants, and people who take blood thinners.

Chronic Subdural Hematoma Diagnosis

To diagnose chronic subdural hematoma, we use advanced diagnostic procedures, including:

  • A computerized tomography scan, or CT scan, is a non-invasive and painless test that uses detailed X-rays and computers to create comprehensive images of the skull and brain tissues. Often, contrast dyes are incorporated, making irregularities like chronic subdural hematomas easier to detect.
  • An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a diagnostic procedure that uses a powerful magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce detailed images of the brain and assess damage caused by chronic subdural hematomas.

Chronic Subdural Hematoma Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic subdural hematoma may include:

  • Slurred or confused speech
  • Confusion
  • Behavior changes
  • Balance or walking difficulties
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue or drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Numbness
  • Seizures
  • Changes in vision
  • Weakness
  • Dysphagia, or swallowing difficulties (in children)
  • Increased head circumference (in children)
  • Irritability (infants)

Chronic Subdural Hematoma Complications

As with any condition that affects the brain, there is a significant risk of complications following chronic subdural hematoma, especially if left untreated.

Chronic subdural hematoma can cause:

  • Severe pressure on the brain, which could lead to coma, permanent brain damage, or become fatal
  • Enduring symptoms, including concentration or focus issues, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, headaches, mood changes, memory loss, or speech and language challenges
  • Seizures stemming from damage to the brain, which can often be controlled with the correct treatments and medications
  • Weakness in the limbs and subsequent movement difficulties

What Are the Common Causes Chronic Subdural Hematoma?

The most common causes of chronic subdural hematoma are from head injuries caused by:

  • Accidents
  • Falls
  • Blows to the head
  • Or other traumatic events

While age is a significant factor for developing chronic subdural hematoma, affecting the very young and the elderly, other considerations that increase risks include:

  • Taking anticoagulant medication, such as blood thinners, aspirin, or anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
  • Certain medical conditions that reduce blood clotting ability
  • Recurring falls or repeated injury to the head

Chronic Subdural Hematoma Treatments

The most common treatment for chronic subdural hematoma is surgery to reduce pressure in the brain. Typically, a surgeon will drill a small hole into the skull then insert a tube to drain the blood that’s causing pressure. For large hematomas or brain clots, a procedure called craniotomy may be necessary to create a larger opening in order to remove them.

Another chronic subdural hematoma treatment is middle meningeal artery embolization. In this procedure, the surgeon will use minimally invasive techniques to advance catheters through the blood vessels of the arm or leg, guided by x-ray, to the middle meningeal artery on the side of the skull with the hematoma. Located on the underside of the skull, the middle meningeal artery is responsible for providing blood to the membranes surrounding the hematoma and contributing to its growth. The surgeon will administer an adhesive material or platinum micro-coils to permanently block the middle meningeal artery, creating an embolization or blockage to reduce bleeding. Following the procedure, the bleeding from the abnormal subdural hematoma membrane reduces, and the hematoma begins to shrink. Typically, the hematoma resolves after several months.

Other treatments for chronic subdural hematomas may include medications, such as corticosteroids to reduce swelling or anti-convulsion medications to prevent seizures.

Preventing Future Chronic Subdural Hematoma

As patients who have had chronic subdural hematoma are more vulnerable to experiencing another, it’s important to understand what you can do to help limit your risks.

Preventing chronic subdural hematomas may include:

  • Wearing safety equipment, such as helmets, seatbelts, or hard hats, to avoid injuries while engaging in sports, working, or driving
  • Reducing fall risks, especially for the elderly or disabled, including walking on wet floors, getting in and out of the bathtub or shower, wearing appropriate footwear, climbing ladders, or avoiding workplace accidents
  • Avoiding alcohol consumption as alcohol abuse increases the risk of developing chronic subdural hematoma following an injury
  • Monitoring any medical conditions that affect your blood’s clotting ability with your provider, including taking blood thinners or aspirin

Your Thousand Oaks, CA Chronic Subdural Hematoma Prognosis and Recovery

Patients who have experienced chronic subdural hematoma are going to have a uniquely individual recovery and rehabilitation process. Recovery can take weeks, months, or even years, depending on the type and severity of the hematoma, the location of the head injury, the damage incurred, and how quickly the person receives treatment. It’s possible that some patients may experience life-long complications.

Following treatment for chronic subdural hematoma, you should avoid activities such as driving, playing sports, riding a bike, or operating machinery, until approved by your provider. You should also consult your provider before beginning or resuming your aspirin regimen or other blood thinning medications.

Some patients may experience prolonged complications from either the hematoma or the treatment. In these cases, rehabilitation therapy may be necessary to help the patient resume normal activities. Rehabilitation therapies may include:

  • Physiotherapy to restore movement, coordination, or muscle weakness
  • Occupational therapy to help resume normal day-to-day tasks
  • Speech or language therapy to recover or enhance speech or languages issues
  • Psychological therapy aims to address issues related to mood, behavior, emotional stability, focus or concentration problems, or adjustment concerns

It is important to note that each individual faces recovery and rehabilitation at their own pace, allowing plenty of time to heal and rest, which may include taking a break from electronics.

Choosing Dr. Taqi for Your Chronic Subdural Hematoma Treatment

When you’re experiencing significant health issues, choosing the right provider is critical. Quintuple board-certified neurointerventionalist Dr. M. Asif Taqi and his expert team continually seek new methods and treatments to help patients improve their overall health. Our providers focus on developing relationships with their patients in order to deliver utmost care. With dedication to providing outstanding results, Dr. Taqi and his team are your choice as the best chronic subdural hematoma treatment specialists in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Schedule Your Chronic Subdural Hematoma Treatment Consultation Today

If you or a loved one is experiencing chronic subdural hematoma, the experts at Vascular Neurology of Southern California are here to help. Our experts will help you navigate treatment options and aid you through recovery and rehabilitation. When you partner with Vascular Neurology of Southern California, we want to help restore your quality of life so that you feel like your best self again.

To schedule a chronic subdural hematoma consultation today, feel free to contact us at (805) 242-4884 or complete our online form.