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Zhiquan Damian Lee, David Low Chyi Yeu, Beng Ti Ang, Wai Hoe Ng and Wan Tew Seow

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Lester Lee, Justin Ker, Hui Yu Ng, Thangaraj Munusamy, Nicolas Kon Kam King, Dinesh Kumar and Wai Hoe Ng


Chronic subdural hemorrhage (SDH) or hematoma is a condition that affects elderly individuals. With advances in medical care, the number of nonagenarians and centenarians will increase. However, surgical treatments in this age group are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Because no data are available on the rates of survival among elderly patients with chronic SDHs who undergo surgical drainage or receive only conservative care, the goal of this study was to determine survival rates in patients 90 years of age or older with symptomatic chronic SDHs.


The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of patient data that were collected at 3 hospitals over a 13-year period (from January 2001 to June 2013). The data from patients 90 years or older with symptomatic chronic SDHs and who were offered surgical treatment were included in the analysis. Patients who underwent surgical treatment were included in the surgical group and patients who declined an operation were included in the conservative care group. The patients’ Charlson Comorbidity Index score, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, dates of death, presenting symptoms, Glasgow Coma Scale score, length of stay in the hospital, discharge location, side of the SDH, and neurological improvements at 30-day and 6-month follow-ups were recorded. Data were statistically analyzed with Fisher exact test, Kaplan-Meier curves, and logistic regression.


In total, 101 patients met the inclusion criteria of this study; 70 of these patients underwent surgical drainage, and 31 received conservative care. Patients in the surgical group had statistically significantly (p < 0.001) higher survival at both the 30-day and 6-month follow-ups, with 92.9% and 81.4% of the patients in this group surviving for at least 30 days and 6 months, respectively, versus 58.1% and 41.9%, respectively, in the conservative care group. Moreover, the mean overall length of survival of 34.4 ± 28.7 months was longer in the surgical group than it was in the conservative care group (11.3 ± 16.6 months). Overall, 95.7% of patients in the surgical group exhibited an improvement in neurological status after the SDH drainage, whereas none of the patients in the conservative care group showed any neurological improvement during their hospital stay. The surgical complication rate was 11.4%, and the overall rate of chronic SDH recurrence after surgery was 12.9%.


Surgical drainage of chronic SDHs in nonagenarians and centenarians is associated with lower incidence of inpatient death and higher 30-day and 6-month survival rates.