An epidural hematoma (EDH) is a medical condition characterized by the accumulation of blood between the protective skull and the outermost layer of the brain, known as the dura mater. The dura mater serves as a crucial protective barrier for the brain, but when there is a rupture in a blood vessel, typically an artery, it can lead to the leakage of blood into this space, forming a pocket that exerts pressure on the brain. This condition often arises from head injuries and is occasionally categorized as a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is also known by various names such as extradural hematoma, epidural hemorrhage, or intracranial hematoma.
Typically, the classic symptoms associated with EDH involve a brief loss of consciousness followed by a period of alertness that may extend for several hours before a decline in brain function occurs, sometimes resulting in the patient entering a coma. EDH is a critical medical emergency that necessitates immediate medical attention and treatment.
Epidural hematoma (EDH) is a traumatic brain injury characterized by a distinct symptom progression in some cases. Following a head trauma, individuals with EDH typically experience the following stages:
Additional signs and symptoms of EDH may manifest minutes to hours after the head injury, including:
If left untreated with persistent bleeding, the situation can lead to elevated intracranial pressure, exacerbating symptoms such as seizures, respiratory difficulties, cognitive impairment, eventual coma, and ultimately, fatal outcomes.
An epidural hematoma (EDH) typically results from a head injury, with a skull fracture occurring in approximately 75% of cases. The primary source of bleeding in most cases is a torn middle meningeal artery. However, in some instances, an EDH can develop due to bleeding from a vein.
In addition to trauma–related causes, EDH can also occur due to non–traumatic factors, including:
The primary cause of spinal epidural hematomas is often spontaneous bleeding from veins, which can be triggered by coagulopathies or the use of anticoagulant medications. Other contributing factors and causes include:
Epidural hematomas (EDH) can develop in individuals who sustain head injuries, but they are more frequently observed in younger individuals, particularly those with skull fractures. Common causes of head injuries include sports activities like snowboarding, skateboarding, and biking, as well as automobile or motorcycle accidents. EDHs are four times more prevalent in males than females and are uncommon both in children under two years old and adults over 60 years old.
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