Subdural Hematoma as a Serious Complication of Huntington's Disease: An Observational Study

Marie Davis, Vicki Wheelock, Lauren Talman, Caitlin Latimer, Brenda Vicars, Anny Lin, Suman Jayadev, Thomas Bird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Persons with Huntington's disease (HD) are at increased risk for subdural hematomas (SDH) because of underlying brain atrophy and increased frequency of falls and head trauma. SDH can cause serious disability, but there is little information about the association of SDH with HD in the medical literature. Objective: To review the occurrence and characteristics of SDH seen in clinics specializing in HD. Methods: A retrospective review identifying the occurrence and manifestations of SDH in HD patients attending three HDSA Centers of Excellence. Results: Twenty-five HD patients (16F/9M) were identified with SDH. Twelve (44%) SDH were bilateral, 16 (60%) required surgical intervention, and 2 resulted in death. Mean age at the time of SDH was 60 years, mean duration of HD symptoms prior to event was 8 years, mean CAG repeat expansion size was 43 and mean UHDRS motor score obtained closest to time of SDH was 51 (16 patients). Most SDH occurred in the context of ground level falls or using stairs although 5 patients had no history of head trauma. Additional brain injury may occur along with the SDH. The most common symptoms were altered mental status, hemiparesis and loss of consciousness. The over-representation of females in this study requires replication and further investigation. Conclusion: Patients with HD are at increased risk for SDH. An increased suspicion for SDH in HD patients should be considered, as this phenomenon may be initially unrecognized, may require extensive utilization of medical resources and is a potential cause of death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Huntington's disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Head trauma
  • Huntington's disease
  • chorea
  • falls
  • subdural hematoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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