Significance of consecutive bilateral surgeries for patients with acute subdural hematoma who develop contralateral acute epi- or subdural hematoma

Akira Matsuno, Haruko Katayama, Hiromi Wada, Kentaro Morikawa, Kotaro Tanaka, Hideki Tanaka, Mineko Murakami, Nobuo Fuke, Tadashi Nagashima
Surgical Neurology 2003, 60 (1): 23-30; discussion 30

BACKGROUND: Although rare, patients with acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) because of severe head injury can develop contralateral acute epi- or subdural hematoma, requiring consecutive surgical procedures. The choice of treatment strategies for such patients is clinically important.

METHODS: Among 88 patients with ASDH who were surgically treated over 13 years, we encountered and studied 5 patients who developed contralateral acute epi- or subdural hematoma (5.7%).

RESULTS: All 5 patients were male, ranging in age from 17 to 40. According to the Glasgow Coma Scale on admission, 1 patient was rated 3, 1 was 4, 1 was 5, and 2 were 6. All patients underwent consecutive surgical procedures for ASDH and contralateral ASDH and/or acute epidural hematoma, and were given postoperative supportive therapy with barbiturates and mild hypothermia. Patients' outcomes according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale were as follows: 1 patient, good recovery (20.0%); 1, mild disability (20.0%); 2, severe disability (40.0%), and 1, persistent vegetative state (20.0%). No patients died. Although decompressive craniectomy and evacuation of hematoma may lead to contralateral acute epi- or subdural hematoma in patients with ASDH, this therapy is justified because hematoma irrigation with trephination therapy has a poor outcome for comatose patients.

CONCLUSION: Awareness of intraoperative brain swelling is important, as it suggests the development of contralateral hematoma. Immediate computed tomography and a rapid return to the operating room are therefore critical.

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