10/07/2013 04:28 pm ET

Subdural Hematoma: Argentina President Cristina Fernandez's Condition, Explained


Cristina Fernandez, the 60-year-old president of Argentina, is set to undergo surgery because of a subdural hematoma, according to news reports.

A subdural hematoma is a condition where leaking blood from ruptured blood vessels collects on the surface of the brain.

Fernandez was previously prescribed a month of rest by doctors, but had started experiencing a tingling feeling in her arm.

"The initial recommendation for rest and observation issued on Saturday … was modified," according to a statement from Fundacion Favaloro hospital, Reuters reported. "Considering these symptoms, the president's medical team is suggesting surgery."

Fernandez's condition may have been caused by a fall she had in August, where she hit her head, according to Reuters. BBC News reported that a scan taken at the hospital revealed the subdural hematoma; she went to the hospital because of headache complaints and to check up on her irregular heartbeat.

Subdural hematomas are considered emergency conditions, and most often happen after a head injury. Acute subdural hematomas, which occur after a serious head injury, involve blood filling the brain. When this happens, pressure is put on the brain tissue, which can lead to brain injury, the National Institutes of Health reported. The University of California, Los Angeles Neurosurgery department explained that surgery is often the best route of treatment for this kind of subdural hematoma. Subacute subdural hematoma is similar to acute hematoma, but it may take longer -- days or weeks, even -- for the symptoms to appear, the Mayo Clinic noted.

Chronic subdural hematomas occur after a more minor head injury, and can even go unnoticed for days to weeks. These types of subdural hematomas occur when a blood clot slowly forms on the brain's surface, according to the University of California, Los Angeles Neurosurgery department.

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