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Subdural Hematoma Occurrence: Comparison Between Ethanol and Cocaine Use at Death

Heninger, Michael MD

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3182834b32
Original Articles
Abstract

Objective: The objective of this study was to show that, in a medical examiner population, ethanol intoxication is associated with an increase in the occurrence of subdural hematoma (SDH), whereas the presence of cocaine is not associated with an increase in the occurrence of SDH.

Design: This was a retrospective evaluation of 967 SDH including the investigative information, autopsy, and toxicological findings derived from 18,314 medical examiner cases over 8 years.

Results: Subdural hematoma is found in 7% to 9% of cases with either no ethanol or less than 100 mg/dL of ethanol. Subdural hematoma is found in 18% of cases with ethanol levels of greater than 100 mg/dL. Subdural hematoma is found in 11% of cases negative for cocaine, whereas SDH is found in 9% of cases with any form of cocaine present at death.

Author Information

From the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Center and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University, School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.

Manuscript received September 10, 2012; accepted December 5, 2012.

The author reports no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Michael Heninger, MD, Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Center and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University, School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 430 Pryor St SW, Atlanta, GA 30312. E-mail: Michael.Heninger@fultoncountyga.gov.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.