Risk factors of recurrence in chronic subdural hematoma and a proposed extended classification of internal architecture as a predictor of recurrence

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2777–2786

Chronic subdural hematomas (cSDHs) constitute one of the most prevalent intracranial disease entities requiring surgical treatment. Although mostly taking a benign course, recurrence after treatment is common and associated with additional morbidity and costs.

Aim of this study was to develop hematoma-specific characteristics associated with risk of recurrence. All consecutive patients treated for cSDH in a single university hospital between 2015 and 2019 were retrospectively considered for inclusion. Size, volume, and midline shift were noted alongside relevant patient-specific factors. We applied an extended morphological classification system based on internal architecture in CT imaging consisting of eight hematoma subtypes. A logistic regression model was used to assess the classification’s performance on predicting hematoma recurrence.

Recurrence was observed in 122 (32.0%) of 381 included patients. Apart from postoperative depressed brain volume (OR 1.005; 95% CI 1.000 to 1.010; p = 0.048), neither demographic nor factors related to patient comorbidity affected recurrence. The extended hematoma classification was identified as a significant predictor of recurrence (OR 1.518; 95% CI 1.275 to 1.808; p < 0.001). The highest recurrence rates were observed in hematomas of the homogenous (isodense: 41.4%; hypodense: 45.0%) and sedimented (50.0%) types.

Our results support that internal architecture subtypes might represent stages in the natural history of chronic subdural hematoma. Detection and treatment at a later stage of spontaneous repair can result in a reduced risk of recurrence. Based on their high risk of recurrence, we advocate follow-up after treatment of sedimented and homogenous hematomas.