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Traumatic delayed epidural hematoma.

OBJECT: Traumatic delayed epidural hematoma (DEH) can be defined as a hematoma that is insignificant or not present on the initial computerized tomography (CT) scan made after trauma but subsequent CT scan shows sizeable epidural bleeding. During a 3-year period we have treated a total of 96 epidural hematomas, eight (8.3 %) of which had a delayed onset.

CASE REPORT: We present here an analysis of the eight patients with traumatic DEH which had a significant mass effect in all patients and required surgical evacuation. In three patients with mild head injury (GCS > 12) neurological deterioration indicated the necessity of repeating the CT scan and preceded the detection of DEH. In only one case of the five patients with moderate (8 < GCS < 13) and severe head injury (GCS < 9) was neurological deterioration the precursor of the DEH. All patients were immediately operated on after diagnosis. Postoperative outcome was favorable in all cases.

CONCLUSIONS: DEHs are highly unpredictable and continue to cause diagnostic difficulty. Close observation for signs of clinical deterioration and repeat CT scan are the most important factors for early detection of DEH. Early diagnosis and prompt operation offers excellent results for DEHs.

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