Management of epidural hematomas in pediatric patients presenting with a GCS of 14 or better

Michael T. Bounajem, D. Clay Samples, David J. Wallace, Samon Tavakoli, Lillian Liao, Izabela Tarasiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Object: Guidelines for the management of pediatric epidural hematoma (PEDH) remain poorly defined. Here we seek to characterize the disease course of PEDH in patients with presenting Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 14+, and suggest high-risk characteristics for progression to surgery. Methods: A prospectively maintained, single-institution, level-1 trauma hospital admission database was queried to identify patients ages 6 months to 18 years presenting with PEDH between 2006 and 2016. Selected charts were reviewed for clinical information and treatment. Head imaging was reviewed for hematoma size, location, fractures, and midline shift. Results: Of 210 cases reviewed, 117 presented with a GCS of 14+. Of these, 24 required surgery while 93 were managed conservatively. Factors leading to surgery included decline in GCS (40%), size alone (21%), localizing neurological deficit (20%), progression on repeat imaging (12%), and other (7%). Hematomas involving the temporal lobe plus an adjacent lobe were more likely to proceed to surgery than those involving the temporal lobe alone (OR: 24.8, 95% CI (4.74, 129.26)). Hematomas in proximity to the superior sagittal and transverse sinuses proceeded to surgery in 33.3% and 37.5% of cases, respectively. Of the 93 patients with a thickness:biparietal skull diameter ratio of ≤0.15, 89 (95.7%) were managed conservatively. Conclusion: In this single-institution experience, 21% of pediatric patients presenting with a GCS of 14+ proceeded to surgery. High-risk features include large hematoma thickness, proximity to the transverse sinus, and multilobar location. A thickness:biparietal skull diameter ratio less than 0.15 was highly unlikely to proceed to surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Epidural hematoma
  • Management
  • Pediatric
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Surgery


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