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Are subdural hematomas a serious brain injury?

When an accident occurs, a hit to the head is sometimes possible. In the case of a car accident, your head might hit the dashboard, window, or steering wheel. In the case of a slip-and-fall accident, your head might hit the ground. Even in the case of an accident at a nursing home, a hit to the head is sometimes possible. In all of those cases, the victim who suffered the hit to the head might end up with an acute subdural hematoma, which is a serious brain injury.

What is an acute subdural hematoma?

An acute subdural hematoma is a blood clot that forms between the dura matter and the surface of the brain. It is caused by broken blood vessels and veins that rupture because of the head injury. The acute subdural hematoma puts pressure on the brain that can cause trauma to the brain.

How common are acute subdural hematomas?

Acute subdural hematomas that are caused by a traumatic injury are considered one of the most lethal head injuries. This type of injury is seen in 10 to 20 percent of traumatic brain injuries. In up to 30 percent of fatal injuries, an acute subdural hematoma is present.

How are acute subdural hematomas treated?

Healing after an acute subdural hematoma can be a lengthy process. Oftentimes, surgery is required to treat the issue. Around 50 to 90 percent of patients with an acute subdural hematoma won't live through the injury, and only around 20 to 30 percent of patients with an acute subdural hematoma will recover partial or full brain function.

The severity of the subdural hematoma greatly affects the cost of the treatments necessary. With that in mind, some patients with subdural hematomas caused by a traumatic accident might opt to seek compensation for their injuries.

Source: UCLA Health, "Acute Subdural Hematomas," accessed Aug. 14, 2015

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