Chronic subdural haematoma is a collection of liquid (as opposed to solid or clotted) blood between the brain and the lining of the brain (the dura).
Chronic subdural haematoma occurs more commonly in the elderly, as their brains tend to shrink a little and the veins running from the brain to the sinuses on the inside of the skull are more prone to rupture by stretching. This can occur after a minor trauma.
Patients with chronic subdural haematoma can experience a variety of non-specific symptoms, including headache, speech disturbance, or confusion. In some cases, it may be suspected that they have had a stroke.
The diagnosis of chronic subdural haematoma is made with a CT scan.
Small chronic subdural haematomas are often treated conservatively. Regular CT scans are used to check their size and these often disappear over several months. Larger chronic subdural haematomas, or those producing significant symptoms, are generally treated with surgical drainage, either via small holes in the skull (burr hole drainage) or by removing a small window of bone to release the blood (mini-craniotomy).
With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment by a neurosurgeon, chronic subdural haematomas generally have a good prognosis.