JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Conservative management of significant epidural haematomas in children.

OBJECTIVE: A significant epidural haematoma (EDH) is generally treated by craniotomy and evacuation. This is a report of conservative management following an EDH on computerized tomography (CT) in a paediatric population. The authors examined whether conservative treatment of radiologically significant EDH is a successful and safe therapeutic option.

METHODS: Retrospective data were collected from charts of patients with conservatively treated EDH in the Department of Surgery of the University Children's Hospital Zurich between September 1993 and January 2004. Included were patients without focal neurological deficits, with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 15 and an initial CT demonstrating an EDH with a minimal thickness of 1 cm. Mild clinical symptoms of raised intracranial pressure such as headache, nausea or vomiting were treated symptomatically. Follow-up included a standardized interview, a neuropaediatric examination and CT.

RESULTS: Thirteen children with EDH had successful conservative management. Only one 12-year-old female patient with a delayed diagnosed frontal EDH required surgical intervention 24 h after admission and 5 days after the accident. Clinical follow-up showed patients without neurological deficits, a Glasgow Outcome Scale of 5 and no post-traumatic sequelae over an average of 4 4/12 years (range 4 months to 10 4/12 years). Follow-up CT showed complete resolution of the EDH within 2 to 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that significant EDH can be treated non-operatively in neurologically normal children. We recommend that such treatment be performed in specialised paediatric centres under adequate neurological observation since prompt emergency operation in case of neurological deterioration should be provided.

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