The role of external drains and peritoneal conduits in the treatment of recurrent chronic subdural hematoma

World Neurosurg. 2010 Jun;73(6):747-50. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2010.03.031.


Background: A considerable body of evidence supporting the use of external drainage after evacuation of primary chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) exists in the literature. However, no systematic study of the value of postoperative drainage in the treatment of recurrent CSDH has been published. The aim of the study was to investigate external drains and subdural-to-peritoneal conduit in the treatment of recurrent CSDH.

Methods: A retrospective review of cases of CSDH treated in our institution between October 2002 and October 2006 was conducted.

Results: During the study period, 408 patients had burr hole evacuation. Sixty-four patients (15.9%) had treatment for recurrence. One patient had craniotomy, and the remaining 63 had another burr hole evacuation: 36 without placement of a drain (BHO), 14 with external drainage (SED), and 13 with placement of subdural-peritoneal catheter (SPC). Fifteen patients (24%) developed a secondary recurrence requiring a third drainage procedure. Postoperative drainage (SED or SPC) was associated with a significantly lower secondary recurrence rate when compared to BHO: 3/27 (11%) versus 12/36 (33%) (χ(2), P=.040). There was no significant difference in recurrence rates between SED and SPC. Postoperative complications included acute subdural hematoma (2), subdural empyema (2), brain edema (2), pneumonia (3), and in-hospital death (2). None of the complications was associated with the use of a specific technique.

Conclusions: The results indicate that, as in the treatment of primary CSDHs, the use of drain (SED or SPC) with burr hole evacuation is safe and is associated with lower recurrence rate. Further investigation is needed to clarify the indications of currently available surgical techniques in the treatment of recurrent CSDH.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Craniotomy / methods
  • Female
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Chronic / diagnostic imaging
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Chronic / pathology
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Chronic / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Intracranial Hypertension / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peritoneal Cavity / anatomy & histology
  • Peritoneal Cavity / physiology
  • Peritoneal Cavity / surgery
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Subdural Space / diagnostic imaging
  • Subdural Space / pathology
  • Subdural Space / surgery*
  • Suction / instrumentation*
  • Suction / methods*
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt / instrumentation
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt / methods*