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8th July 2024 Latest News

Haematoma research aims to stem the bleed

Neurosurgery resized

All eyes are expected to be on South Australia when a research project into a common neurological condition kicks off this month, such is its global significance. 

Thanks to backing from The Hospital Research Foundation Group, Adelaide neurosurgeon Dr Adam Wells is leading a project aimed at boosting the clinical understanding of chronic subdural haematoma (cSDH) – a type of bleeding on the brain. 

The condition is predominately seen in older patients, and with the aging population of the western world, Dr Wells said the findings had the potential to be “groundbreaking”. 

“Our project is looking at ways to further characterise what makes up these haematomas and how we can potentially influence the body’s clotting mechanism to try and reduce their recurrence and make surgery safer,” he said. 

“If we can come up with some different solutions to manage this condition, this has potential to put us on the map as a world-leader in managing a globally recognised and an increasingly important problem.” 

Dr Adam Wells

CSDH is a bleed between the brain and the protective layers of the skull that has built up over a period of weeks to months, thought to be due to abnormal blood clotting. 

It can be caused by minor head injuries, age-related brain atrophy or blood thinners. 

Despite undergoing surgery, about a third of cSDH patients experience recurrent bleeding and the reasons why this occurs are unknown. 

The worldwide incidence of cSDH is rising, so much so it is expected to be one of the most common neurosurgical conditions globally by 2030. 

Dr Wells said recurrent bleeding from cSDH placed a huge burden on not just the patient, but the wider healthcare system. 

It means longer hospital stays and repeat surgeries, increasing the risk of infection and stroke. 

“There are huge implications from having to have more than one surgery and that is part of what the research is trying to look at, minimising the need for more than one operation,” he said. 

“It’s a huge burden on the healthcare system, so if we can even halve the amount of operations we have to do twice, that would have massive benefits to the community.” 

The team will also collaborate with colleagues from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England, to conduct sample analysis in a nod to the global significance of the research. 

We are proud to be funding this vital research and look forward to keeping you updated.