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Types of subdural hematomas

Long-Term Care Nursing Advisor, November 2, 2007

A subdural hematoma occurs when the head strikes a broad, hard object, causing internal bleeding. Bleeding into the subdural space in the brain may be arterial or venous. The leaking causes a condition called subdural hematoma. Three types of subdural hemotomas have been identified:

  • Acute subdural hematoma: The onset of symptoms is rapid. Mortality is approximately 50%. Survivors often have neurologic deficits.
  • Subacute subdural hematoma: Has gradual onset of symptoms, with progressive neurologic decline occurring over 24 to 36 hours.
  • Chronic subural hematoma: Produces neurologic signs and symptoms up to 6 weeks after the initial injury. Because of this time lapse, the cause of the injury can often be forgotten, and caregivers may forget to associate the injury with an occurrence from the past.