Acute subdural hematoma: Nonsurgical management of selected patients

Martin A. Croce, Daniel L. Dent, Paul G. Menke, James T. Robertson, Mark S. Hinson, Brent H. Young, Timothy B. Donovan, F. Elizabeth Pritchard, Gayle Minard, Kenneth A. Kudsk, Timothy C. Fabian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


There is a current trend toward nonsurgical therapy for small, minimally symptomatic acute subdural hematomas (ASDH), but data supporting such a scheme have been lacking. We evaluated 83 patients with minimally symptomatic ASDH (Glasgow Coma Scale scores of 11-15) and found 58 managed nonsurgicaliy (70%) and 25 managed with craniotomy (30%). Patients managed without surgery had a lower incidence of focal neurologic deficits (12% vs. 40%; p <.01), open cisterns (90% vs. 28%; p <.001), and small (<1 cm) ASDHs (92% vs. 62%; p <.001). Ninety-three percent of patients managed nonsurgicaliy had functional recovery compared with 84% of patients with craniotomy. Age and Injury Severity Score were significantly associated with patient outcome. Timing of surgery had no association with outcome. Six percent of patients managed nonsurgicaliy developed chronic SDH requiring craniotomy. We conclude that unless the hematoma is causing clinical evidence of intracranial hypertension or significant neurologic dysfunction, there appears to be no advantage in evacuating the clot. Selected patients with ASDH and GCS scores of 11-15 can safely be managed without craniotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-827
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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