Mumford and Sons Bassist Has “Blood Clot on Brain”

Mumford & Sons has been forced to cancel the next few performances of their current tour due to a medical emergency.  Bass player Ted Dwane has to undergo emergency surgery for what they a calling a “blood clot on the brain.” According to their website:

Our friend and bandmate Ted has been feeling unwell for a few days, and yesterday he was taken to a hospital to receive emergency treatment. The scans revealed a blood clot on the surface of his brain that requires an operation.  Ted is receiving excellent care and we are being assured that he will recover quickly from surgery.

The group has been are touring the US with their latest album Babel (which won Album of the Year at this year’s Grammy Awards). The album went to number one in the UK and the US.Performances have been cancelled in Dallas, Woodlands, and New Orleans at the present time.

What is a “blood clot on the surface of the brain?”

A blood clot on the surface of the brain most likely represents a form of brain hemorrhage (bleeding) called a subdural hematoma.

The brain is covered by three layers of membrane, called the meninges. The outer layer which is closest to the inside of the skull, is a thick, fibrous membrane called the dura mater. The delicate, spiderweb-like (hence the name) arachnoid membrane lies beneath the dura and surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Unlike the third layer, the pia mater- which is in contact with the brain surface, the arachnoid membrane does not dip down into the folds of the brain, and is separated from the pia mater by the subarachnoid space.

sahA subdural hemorrhage is caused by bleeding that takes place due to the rupture of one or more of the blood vessels (typically veins) that travel through the subdural space. The subdural space is  located between the dura mater, which adheres to the skull, and the arachnoid mater enveloping the brain.

Subdural hematomas are usually the result of a serious head injury. When one occurs in this way, it is called an “acute” subdural hematoma. Acute subdural hematomas are among the deadliest of all head injuries. The bleeding fills the brain area very rapidly, compressing brain tissue. This often results in brain injury and may lead to death.

Subdural hematomas can also occur after a very minor head injury, especially in the elderly. These may go unnoticed for many days to weeks, and are called “chronic” subdural hematomas.

With any subdural hematoma, tiny veins between the surface of the brain and its outer covering (the dura) stretch and tear, allowing blood to collect. In the elderly, the veins are often already stretched because of brain atrophy (shrinkage) and are more easily injured.

Some subdural hematomas occur without cause (spontaneously).

The following increase your risk for a subdural hematoma:

  • Anticoagulant medication (blood thinners, including aspirin)
  • Long-term abuse of alcohol
  • Recurrent falls
  • Repeated head injury
  • Very young or very old age

Symptoms are similar to those of anyone having a stroke:

  • Confused speech
  • Difficulty with balance or walking
  • Headache
  • Lethargy or confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Visusal disturbances
  • Weakness

A subdural hematoma is an emergency condition.

Emergency surgery may be needed to reduce pressure within the brain. This may involve drilling a small hole in the skull, which allows blood to drain and relieves pressure on the brain. Large hematomas or solid blood clots may need to be removed through a procedure called a craniotomy, which creates a larger opening in the skull.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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