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Is it safe to fly with acute subdural hematona?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 1337 Questions
is it safe to fly with acute subdural hematona?
Posted Thu, 19 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Follow-up: Is it safe to fly with acute subdural hematona? 17 minutes later
this person had an mri last monday as a result of having severe headaches for 10 days and is currently being treated with steroids to reduce swelling,percoset for pain,zanax for sleep.He was not in a car accident,or have any trauma to his head.he started getting headaches after using a testosterone cream.he has another mri scheduled for this wednesday,and is scheduled to fly from nyc to las vegas nevada on thanksgiving day.the neurosurgeon he saw last week said he could fly but only at a certain altitude(i do not know altitude).my concern is this-if after his mri this wednesday,it shows blood is liquifieing(sp?)and they wont have to open his skull to drain blood,DR.will say yes he can fly next week.if for some reason the plane hits an airpocket in sky and has to fly above altitude dr.said not to,is this person at a risk?he will be flying on a private aircraft,if this helps you.Thankyou very, very, much DR.
Answered by Dr. Mohammed Tauseef 2 hours later
Hi Shilfiger,

Thank you for the query.

I would like to know few more things which would help me in suggesting you better:

1.) Does he have headache with increasing frequency and severity?
2.) Does he have dizziness or loss of consciousness?

I would like to let you know that Flight Altitude is, a level defined by vertical measurement from sea level, maintained during a flight. Though it is a private jet I am not sure if this pilot can keep any altitude in mind while flying.

His second MRI scan report says that the clot in his skull is dissolving and he doesn't need surgical decompression in the form of Craniotomy. The clot will absorb gradually, by itself. This is good sign.

If he is my patient I would suggest not to fly for 2 to 4 weeks after the onset of the bleed. The pressure caused by flying can damage the areas of brain that are healing from the bleed, causing more bleeding. The flight altitude limit for a patient with Subdural Hematoma is not defined, hence it is always better to avoid flying for a minimum of 4 weeks after the injury while he is recovery mode, to prevent any further damage to the brain. I know it is good to XXXXXXX during Thanks giving but there can be much more wonderful 'Thanksgiving years' in future.

Hope I have answered your query, I will be available to answer your follow up queries.

Wish him Good Health.

Dr. Mohammed Tauseef.
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