Overview
Resources
Other Names
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatments
Recovery

What is an Epidural Hematoma?

An Epidural Hematoma is bleeding between the skull and the outer covering of the brain called the dura. Often Epidural Hematomas also have a skull fracture involved in the injury.

Other Names

  • Extradural hematoma 
  • EDH  
  • Epidural Hemorrhage
  • Epidural Bleeding
  • Extradural Hemorrhage

Causes

  • Common causes include injury to a person’s head due to fall, car crash, contact sports, or physical abuse.
  • Skull fracture in infancy or childhood.
  • Blood vessel rupture
  • Severe head injury
  • Rapid bleeding causing Pressure on the brain.
  • Skull fracture tears blood vessel in brain.

People at Elevated Risk

  • older adults
  • people with coordination issues that fall often.
  • previous head trauma
  • people on blood thinners
  • people under the influence of alcohol
  • People playing contact sports and activities without helmets or protective equipment.
  • People who don’t wear a seat belt.

Symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness then a period of awareness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Enlarged pupil in one eye
  • Severe Headache
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness in part of body
  • Seizures
  • Loss of vision on one side
  • Trouble breathing
  • Coma
  • If untreated:
    • increased blood pressure
    • difficulty breathing
    • brain damage
    • death

Diagnosis

A diagnosis of Epidural Hematoma is begun with a neurological examination and a discussion of symptoms. Signs of increased cranial pressure included headaches, drowsiness, confusion, nausea and vomiting. A head CT scan is used to confirm the diagnosis. An MRI may also be used to help locate the bleed. An EEG may also be used to assess the brain’s electrical activity.

Treatments

  • Lifesaving measures such as CPR and life support.
  • Medications can be used to reduce swelling and pressure and can be treated with out surgery if mild.
  • Brain surgery such as drilling into the brain to release pressure, stopping bleeding, or removing blood clots through a procedure called a craniotomy.
  • Additional medications to control seizures and thin blood.

Recovery

Recovery for people who survive Epidural Hematomas can very greatly as each person’s injury and complications are unique. Often people will need some sort of rehabilitation therapy due to continued weakness in some body part, incontinence, issues walking, paralysis or loss of sensation. People recovering from Epidural Hematomas often will need home care services after leaving rehab.