Chronic subdural hematomas: a case series from the medical ward of a north Tanzanian referral hospital

Sakina Mehboob RashidEmail author, Shahrzad Seyedeh Deliran, Marieke Cornelia Johanna Dekker, William Patrick Howlett
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Chronic subdural hematomas (CSDH) initially present as focal neurological deficits with or without signs of increased intracranial pressure, for which admission to the general medical ward may occur if they present with poorly understood neurological deficits and no evident history of trauma. The symptoms may be long standing and mimic stroke upon presentation. Their distribution and specific clinical features in sub-Saharan Africa are largely unknown.


We describe a series of subdural hematoma (SDH) inpatients from the medical ward of a tertiary referral center in Northern Tanzania, describing clinical and radiological characteristics and providing clinical outcome where possible.


Our study population numbered 30, with a male majority (n = 19, 63.3%) and a mean age of 66.8 ± 14.5 years. Mean duration from symptom onset to admission in the medical ward was 20.0 ± 30.8 days. History of head injury was reported in only 43.3% of patients. Improvement in the neurological examination was noted in 68.1% of the 22 patients who underwent surgery. The mortality rate was 20.0%.


A majority of the patients were elderly males and presented late to the hospital. Delayed presentation and diagnosis due to, amongst other reasons, postponed imaging resulted in a prolonged time to definitive treatment and a high mortality rate compared to other regions of the world.