A dural hematoma is a hematoma (bloodclot) that occurs somewhere in the meninges of the brain. Although the name dural suggests that it occurs somewhere in the dura mater, I believe that a dural hematoma can occur in any of the three layers of the meninges.

A dural hematoma, as can be guessed, is a rather dangerous thing to have. Besides the obvious reason that it involves loss of blood to the brain, the physical presence of the hematoma can cause harm for two reasons.

  1. The presence of a clot of sufficient size can compress the brain tissue directly below it, or cut off an artery that supplies blood to the brain. This compression and\or lack of blood can causes serious damage to nervous tissue.
  2. While the proceeding is true of both subdural and dural hematomas, the dura mater of the brain, apart from protecting the brain from shocks, also drains the CSF away from the brain. a series of veinous structures, located in the arachnoid mater, filter the CSF back into the blood stream. If there is a physical obstacle to this drainage, the CSF just builds up until the pressure all over the brain is enough to crush the brain from within. Since neurons operate on the basis of fluid and electrical pressure, changes to this pressure can cause fatal damage very quickly.

Treatment of a dural hematoma is based on how large the clot is, and what area it is in. Treatment may be simply keeping the patient comfortable until the condition resolves on its own. In more serious cases, however, the clot may need to be surgically removed. And to treat swelling due to CSF pressure, a shunt can be placed into the skull to drain off excessive CSF.

A dural hematoma can occur either spontaneously, or due to a trauma to the head.