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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Acute Intracranial Subdural Hematoma Masquerading as a Postpartum Headache: A Case Report


Introduction: An acute subdural hematoma is a collection of blood in the space between the dural and arachnoid membranes overlying the brain. Head trauma is the most common cause. Less frequently, low cerebrospinal fluid pressure, due to a spontaneous or iatrogenic cerebrospinal fluid leak can result in a subdural hematoma.

Case Report: We discuss the case of a 26-year-old woman who presented with a frontal headache following epidural anesthesia for vaginal delivery. The differential diagnosis included spinal headache, postpartum hypercoagulability, dural sinus thrombosis, and intracranial hemorrhage or mass. Her vital signs and physical examination were normal. A computed tomography of the brain revealed an acute subdural hematoma along the left frontal cerebral hemisphere, without midline shift or mass effect. A blood patch was placed with complete resolution of her symptoms.

Conclusion: This case illustrates an unusual case of an acute subdural hematoma in the postpartum period following epidural anesthesia for labor pain management. It was thought to be caused by intracranial hypotension following epidural anesthesia and a cerebrospinal fluid leak.

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