How are subdural hematomas (SDHs) characterized?

Updated: Jul 26, 2018
  • Author: Richard J Meagher, MD; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Subdural hematomas are usually characterized on the basis of their size and location and the amount of time elapsed since the inciting event age (ie, whether they are acute, subacute, or chronic). When the inciting event is unknown, the appearance of the hematoma on neuroimaging studies can help determine when the hematoma occurred. These factors, as well as the neurologic and medical condition of the patient, determine the course of treatment and may also influence the outcome.

Generally, acute subdural hematomas are less than 72 hours old and are hyperdense compared with the brain on computed tomography scans. The subacute phase begins 3-7 days after acute injury. Chronic subdural hematomas develop over the course of weeks and are hypodense compared with the brain. However, subdural hematomas may be mixed in nature, such as when acute bleeding has occurred into a chronic subdural hematoma.


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