Subdural Effusion – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is subdural effusion?
A subdural effusion is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the subdural space. Subdural space is the space between the surface of the brain and the dura mater (outer lining of the brain). If the accumulated fluid becomes infected, the condition is called a subdural empyema.
Subdural effusion is more common in infants.
What causes subdural effusion?
A subdural effusion is a rare complication of meningitis caused by bacteria. Subdural effusion can also occur after head trauma.
What are the symptoms of subdural effusion?
The following are the symptoms of subdural effusion:
- The outward curving of a baby’s soft spot (bulging fontanelle)
- Increased head circumference
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
- Persistent fever
- Abnormally wide spaces in the bony joints of a baby’s skull (separated sutures)
- Weakness or loss of movement on both sides of the body
How is subdural effusion diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a physical exam and review the symptoms.
The doctor may do the following tests to detect the subdural effusion:
- CT scan of the head
- Head size (circumference) measurements
- MRI scan of the head
- Ultrasound of the head
How is subdural effusion treated?
Most often, surgery is needed to drain the effusion. Rarely, a shunt (a permanent drainage device) is used to drain fluid. The shunt is left in place for a short time or a long time. Intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be given to treat the infection.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.