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What is a subdural hemorrhage?

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Updated February 17, 2009

Drawing of the subdural space

Subdural hemorrhage: Blood in the subdural space

Photo © A.D.A.M.
Question: What is a subdural hemorrhage?
Answer: A subdural hemorrhage is caused by bleeding that takes place due to the rupture of one or more of the blood vessels (typically veins) that travel in the subdural space, located between the surface of the brain and the ‘dura’, a thin layer of tissue that separates the brain from the skull.

Commonly this type of hemorrhage is caused by trauma to the head, although it can also arise spontaneously, especially in the elderly. Subdural hemorrhages can become large enough that they push against the brain, and cause a stroke. In the most severe cases, they can even lead to death.

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