woman with head injury after car accidentBleeding in the brain is a common result of moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). As blood pools under the injury, pressure on the brain increases, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the brain. Without medical intervention to relieve the pressure on the brain, a victim could suffer permanent brain damage or even death.

Types and Complications of Brain Bleeds

The collection of blood outside of blood vessels is called a hematoma. A much more serious form of bruising, a brain hematoma can begin to show symptoms right after a blow to the head, or it can take days or even weeks to appear. Many victims feel fine after the injury, only to suffer persistent headaches, vomiting, dizziness, slurred speech, and progressive loss of consciousness with each passing day. Doctors will typically diagnose a hematoma with CT scans and devise treatment based on the location and size of the bleed.

A closed head injury could result in one of the following types of hematoma:

  • Epidural hematoma. An epidural hematoma is a bleed between the inside of the skull and the outer covering of the brain (called the dura). They are commonly caused by skull fractures, as bone fragments may rupture the blood vessels running beneath the skull.
  • Subdural hematoma. Bleeding between the dura and brain tissue is a subdural hematoma, which can lead to unconsciousness and death as pressure on the brain increases. While some subdural hematomas will resolve on their own, others will require surgical drainage.
  • Intracerebral hematoma. This bleeding occurs anywhere within the brain tissue itself, including both lobes and in the brainstem. An intracranial hematoma is potentially life-threatening and typically requires surgery and treatment with blood thinners to prevent the victim from suffering blood clots that increase the risk of a stroke.

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