Challenges and patient outcomes in chronic subdural haematoma at the level of a regional care system: A multi-centre, mixed-methods study from the East of England

Daniel James Stubbs, Sam Khanna, Benjamin M. Davies, Mark E. Vivian, Tom Bashford, Krishma Adatia, Ping Chen, Peter John Clarkson, Catherine McGlennan, Lalani Indurawage, Martyn Patel, Rada Tyagunenko, Rowan Burnstein, David K. Menon, Peter J. Hutchinson, Alexis Joannides, SENIOR-C team

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Background: Chronic subdural haematoma (cSDH) is a common neurosurgical pathology affecting older patients with other health conditions. A significant proportion (up-to 90%) of referrals for surgery in neurosciences units (NSU) come from secondary care. However, the organisation of this care and the experience of patients repatriated to non-specialist centres are currently unclear.

Objectives: This study aimed to clarify patient outcome in non-specialist centres following NSU discharge for cSDH surgery and to understand key system challenges. The study was set within a representative neurosurgical care system in the east of England.

Design and methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of patients referred for cSDH surgery. Alongside case record review, patient and staff experience were explored using surveys as well as an interactive c-design workshop. Challenges were identified from thematic analysis of survey responses and triangulated by focussed workshop discussions.

Results: Data on 381 patients referred for cSDH surgery from six centres was reviewed. One hundred and fifty-six (41%) patients were repatriated following surgery. Sixty-one (39%) of those repatriated suffered an inpatient complication (new infection, troponin rise or renal injury) following NSU discharge, with 58 requiring institutional discharge or new care. Surveys for staff (n = 42) and patients (n = 209) identified that resourcing, communication, and inter-hospital distance posed care challenges. This was corroborated through workshop discussions with stakeholders from two institutions.

Conclusions: A significant amount of perioperative care for cSDH is delivered outside of specialist centres. Future improvement initiatives must recognise the system-wide nature of delivery and the challenges such an arrangement presents.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberafae076
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number4
Early online date12 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • care systems
  • chronic subdural haematoma
  • epidemiology
  • older people
  • perioperative medicine

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