Signs and symptoms of an intracranial hematoma may be evident immediately 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
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness and progressive loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Unequal pupil size
  • Weak limbs on one side of your body
  • Increased blood pressure

As more and more blood fills your brain or the narrow space between your brain and skull, other signs and symptoms may become apparent, such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

When to see a doctor

An intracranial hematoma can be life-threatening. Emergency medical treatment often is necessary.

Seek immediate medical attention after any significant blow to the head in which:

  • You lose consciousness
  • You experience any of the signs and symptoms that may indicate an intracranial hematoma

Although symptoms of intracranial hematoma may not be immediately apparent, watch closely for subsequent physical, mental and emotional changes. For example, if someone seemed fine after a blow to the head and could talk, but then lapsed into unconsciousness, seek immediate medical care.

In addition, even if you feel fine, tell someone you've experienced head trauma and ask him or her to keep an eye on you. Memory loss often is associated with head trauma, so you may forget that you had a blow to the head. An alerted friend, family member or work colleague may be more likely to recognize the warning signs and arrange for prompt medical attention.

Jun. 25, 2011