Chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH) is a form of intracranial hemorrhage common in older adults. Optimal treatment remains controversial. We conducted a systematic review to identify surgical thresholds, characterize outcomes, and delineate critical considerations in the surgical management of older adults in order to summarize the evidence supporting the best contemporary management of cSDH.
A systematic review exploring surgical management of cSDH among individuals aged 65 years and older was conducting by searching the PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases for articles in English. Abstracts from articles were read and selected for full text review according to a priori criteria. Relevant full text articles were analyzed for bibliographic data, aim, study design, population, interventions, and outcomes.
Of 1,473 resultant articles, 21 were included. Surgery rationale was case-by-case for symptomatic patients with cSDH. Surgery was superior to conservative management and promoted equivalent neurologic outcomes and rates of complications. Recurrence and reoperation rates in older adults were similar to younger individuals. Some studies reported higher mortality rates for older adults, while others reported no difference. Anticoagulation or antiplatelet agent use did not seem to be associated with poorer outcomes in older adults.
Surgery for cSDH in older adults leads to favorable neurologic outcomes without increased risk of overall complications, recurrence, or reoperation compared to younger patients. However, older adults may be at increased risk for mortality after surgery. It is important to determine use of anticoagulant or antiplatelet agents in older adults to optimally manage patients with cSDH.
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