Chronic subdural haematoma: the role of peri-operative medicine in a common form of reversible brain injury.
Epidemiological studies project a significant rise in cases of chronic subdural haematoma over the next 20 years. Patients with this condition are frequently older and medically complex, with baseline characteristics that may increase peri-operative risk. The intra-operative period is only a small portion of a patient's total hospital stay, with a majority of patients in the United Kingdom transferred between institutions for their surgical and rehabilitative care. Definitive management remains surgical, but peri-operative challenges exist which resonate with other surgical cohorts where multidisciplinary working has become the gold standard. These include shared decision-making, medical optimisation, the management of peri-operative anticoagulation and the identification of key points of equipoise for examination in the future trials. In this narrative review, we use a stereotyped patient journey to provide context to the recent literature, highlighting where multidisciplinary expertise may be required to optimise patient care and maximise the benefits of surgical management. We discuss the triage, pre-operative optimisation, intra-operative management and immediate postoperative care of patients undergoing surgery for a chronic subdural haematoma. We also discuss where adjunctive medical management may be indicated. In so doing, we present the current and emerging evidence base for the role of an integrated peri-operative medicine team in the care of patients with a chronic subdural haematoma.
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