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Conservative vs. Surgical Management of Post-Traumatic Epidural Hematoma: A Case and Review of Literature

Rosario Maugeri, David Greg Anderson, Francesca Graziano, Flavia Meccio, Massimiliano Visocchi, Domenico Gerardo Iacopino

(Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Neurosurgical Clinic, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy)

Am J Case Rep 2015; 16:811-817

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.895231


BACKGROUND: Trauma is the leading cause of death in people younger than 45 years and head injury is the main cause of trauma mortality. Although epidural hematomas are relatively uncommon (less than 1% of all patients with head injuries and fewer than 10% of those who are comatose), they should always be considered in evaluation of a serious head injury. Patients with epidural hematomas who meet surgical criteria and receive prompt surgical intervention can have an excellent prognosis, presumably owing to limited underlying primary brain damage from the traumatic event. The decision to perform a surgery in a patient with a traumatic extraaxial hematoma is dependent on several factors (neurological status, size of hematoma, age of patients, CT findings) but also may depend on the judgement of the treating neurosurgeon.
CASE REPORT: A 30-year old man arrived at our Emergency Department after a traumatic brain injury. General examination revealed severe headache, no motor or sensory disturbances, and no clinical signs of intracranial hypertension. A CT scan documented a significant left fronto-parietal epidural hematoma, which was considered suitable for surgical evacuation. The patient refused surgery. Following CT scan revealed a minimal increase in the size of the hematoma and of midline shift. The neurologic examination maintained stable and the patient continued to refuse the surgical treatment. Next follow up CT scans demonstrated a progressive resorption of hematoma.
CONCLUSIONS: We report an unusual case of a remarkable epidural hematoma managed conservatively with a favorable clinical outcome. This case report is intended to rather add to the growing knowledge regarding the best management for this serious and acute pathology.

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