Signs and symptoms of an intracranial hematoma may be evident right after a blow to your head, or they may take several weeks or longer to appear. You may seem fine after a head injury, a period called the lucid interval. However, with time, pressure on your brain increases, producing some or all of the following signs and symptoms:
- Increasing headache
- Drowsiness and progressive loss of consciousness
- Unequal pupil size
- Slurred speech
- Increased blood pressure
As more blood fills your brain or the narrow space between your brain and skull, other signs and symptoms may become apparent, such as:
When to see a doctor
An intracranial hematoma can be life-threatening. Emergency medical treatment often is necessary.
Seek immediate medical attention after a blow to the head if:
- You lose consciousness
- You have any of the signs and symptoms that could indicate an intracranial hematoma
Signs and symptoms of intracranial hematoma may not be immediately apparent, so watch for subsequent physical, mental and emotional changes. For example, if someone seems fine after a blow to the head and can talk but then becomes unconscious, seek immediate medical care.
Also, even if you feel fine, ask someone to keep an eye on you. You may have memory loss after a blow to your head, so you may forget about it eventually. Someone you tell may be more likely to recognize the warning signs and get you prompt medical attention.
June 25, 2014
- Traumatic brain injury: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/detail_tbi.htm. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Traumatic brain injury. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec21/ch310/ch310a.html#S21_CH310_T001. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- McBride W. Intracranial epidural hematoma in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- McBride W. Subdural hematoma in adults: Prognosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Ahn ES, et al. Intracranial epidural hematoma in children: Clinical features, evaluation and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Wind JJ, et al. Bilateral subacute subdural hematomas. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:e23.
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