Folia Medica 63(4): 613-617, doi: 10.3897/folmed.63.e58872
Massive subgaleal hematoma in a 62-year-old man treated with apixaban as a consequence of mild head trauma
expand article infoDiamantoula Pagkou, Theodosios Papavramidis, Xanthippi Mavropoulou, Moysis Moysidis, Ioannis Patsalas
‡ Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Open Access

Subgaleal hematoma, accumulation of blood in the loose areolar tissue of the subgaleal space of the skull, is considered the most catastrophic complication of instrumental delivery. It is a rare finding in older ages, usually associated with coagulation disorders, severe head trauma leading to skull base fractures and accidental or abusive hair pulling. Complications include periorbital necrotising fasciitis, permanent blindness, infections and, in extreme rare cases, airway obstruction. Most cases of subgaleal hematoma resolve spontaneously, without the need of aspiration or drainage.

We present here the case of a 62-year-old male on anticoagulant therapy with apixaban for chronic atrial fibrillation, who came to the emergency department after a car accident suffering from mild head trauma. The patient was complaining of a diffuse headache and physical examination showed a large ecchymosis and edema on the frontal area of the head. His neurological examination was unremarkable. Full-body computed tomography (CT) revealed a fracture of the third right rib. Twelve hours after admission, due to an excessive decrease of hematocrit, a second CT was performed. Although the images didn’t show intracranial hemorrhage or skull base fractures, a large and diffuse hematoma of the subaponeurotic space was observed and the diagnosis of subgaleal hematoma was confirmed.

Massive subgaleal hematoma after mild head trauma is rather infrequent. Early diagnosis improves outcomes and can avert serious complications. Therapeutic strategy should be based on the severity of each case. In our case, conservative treatment appeared to be a valid alternative to surgery, as hematoma resolved spontaneously within 10 days. It is noteworthy that the use of anticoagulation is the only evident factor that could have been the precipitating factor for the development of the hematoma in our patient.

apixaban, massive subgaleal hematoma, mild head trauma