International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2011, 2, 285-288
doi:10.4236/ijcm.2011.23047 Published Online July 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJCM
Effect of Postoperative Administration of Saireito
for Bilateral Chronic Subdural Hematomas
Satoshi Utsuki, Hidehiro Oka, Chihiro Kijima, Madoka Inukai, Katsutoshi Abe, Kimitoshi Sato,
Sachio Suzuki, Kiyotaka Fujii
Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, Kitasato University, Sagamihara, Japan.
Received April 1st, 2011; revised April 29th, 2011; accepted May 26th, 2011.
The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the efficacy of saireito for bilateral chronic subdural hematomas
(B-CSDH). Between April 2006 and March 2010, a total of 18 patients undergoing unilateral burr hole drainage for
B-CSDH took part in a controlled clinical study. Postoperative status of the nonsurgical side was subsequently evalu-
ated, with (n = 10) and without (n = 8) saireito administration. Two in the saireito-treated group patients and four in
the control group patients ultimately required contralateral surgical intervention. The remainder, including eight
saireito-treated hematomas, resolved without further surgery, generally within eight weeks of the surgical side proce-
dure. However, two of the four resolving control lesions took longer to regress. The hydragogue and anti-inflamma-
tory/steroid-evoking properties ascribed to saireito may facilitate hematoma resolution. After unilateral surgery for
B-CSDH, saireito administration may prevent symptomatic deterioration of a contralateral low-density CSDH, pre-
empting subse quent surgery.
Keywords: Bilateral Chronic Subdural Hematomas, Contralatera l Hematoma, Medical Treatment, Saireito,
Steroid-Like Effect
1. Introduction
Patients with chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) often
present with mental dullness, hemiparesis, and headache,
indicating that surgical intervention is needed. Should a
patient refuse surgery or have few, if any, symptoms,
therapeutic success has been reported with the Japanese
traditional medicine, goreisan [1,2], as an alternative to
steroid [3-5]. Similarly, saireito is an herbal remedy in-
corporating the ingredients and activity of goreisan, but
with added steroid-like effect [6,7]. Since saireito has
therapeutic potential for treatment of CSDH, this study
was conducted to evaluate its administration after uni-
lateral surgical drainage in patients with bilateral CSDH
(B-CSDH). The contralateral lesions were assessed
postoperatively, with and without saireito treatment.
2. Materials and Methods
Between April 2008 and March 2010, 10 patients with
B-CSDH, undergoing unilateral surgical drainage, were
evaluated for postoperative changes in the contralateral
lesions with administration of saireito (saireito group).
All B-CSDH cases of this period were enrolled in con-
trolled clinical study. The medication was given as a
single 3.0 gm dose before mealtime with cold water,
from the day following surgery until the hematoma re-
solved. Dimensions of clot were measured from the in-
ner skull to the brain on axial CT views. Contralateral
lesions were assessed at hematoma maximum dimension
and hematoma density by CT, and change in CT density,
spontaneous resolution and number of required surgeries
were recorded.
Between April 2006 and March 2008, eight control
patients treated with unilateral surgery for B-CSDH
were studied for comparison retrospectively as control
group. None received postoperative saireito.
CT scans of the head were performed on all patients at
four-week intervals or when there were signs of deterio-
ration due to hematoma, for example declining mental
faculties, hemiparesis and headache.
Significant differences were analyzed using Stat View
5.0 software. The p value using a t-test for age, the
maximum dimension of contralateral hematoma and
interval until surgery for contralateral hematoma was
calculated, and a chi-square test (Fisher’s exact test) was
Effect of Postoperative Administration of Saireito for Bilateral Chronic Subdural Hematomas
used to determine the significance in the other factors.
3. Results
Mean age of patients given saireito was 70 ± 9.3 years
(range, 61 - 86 years). Seven were males and three were
females. Mean age for the control group was 66 ± 13.1
years (range, 45 - 85 years), with four males and four
females. The mean maximum dimension of contralateral
CSDH was 14.0 ± 5.3 mm (range 6.0 - 21.0 mm) in
saireito recipients and 11.0 ± 4.5 mm (range 6.0 - 16.0
mm) in the control group. Contralateral lesions were
initially mixed or isodense on CT scan in seven patients
of the saireito treatment group and in three members of
the control group, but showed a low density in three
saireito-treated patients and five control patients. There
were no significant differences between groups relative
to these features (Table 1). Overall, two patients on
saireito and four control subjects needed surgical drain-
age of enlarging contralateral hematomas. The period
before the onset of symptoms was one to two weeks for
those receiving saireito, but up to eight weeks (mean,
five weeks) for the control patients. Contralateral hema-
tomas resolved without further surgery in eight
saireito-treated patients and in four controls. While all
eight hematomas of saireito group resolved in less than
eight weeks (Figure 1), two of the four resolving lesions
in the control group took longer (12 - 16 weeks) to re-
Of the contralateral hematomas eventually needing
surgical drainage, three were mixed or isodense (two in
saireito group, Figure 2), and three were low-density at
presentation. Three hematomas requiring surgical inter-
vention at later time points (Figure 3) were all in control
patients, and all were low-density lesions.
Maximum dimension of contralateral hematomas at
presentation did not differ by patient group (Figure 4).
Table 1. Summary of patient characteristics.
Saireito Control
group (n = 10) group (n = 8)
Age (mean) 61 - 86 (70) 45 - 85 (66)
Male:Femal 7:3 4:4
Use of the anticoagulant 210 18
Contralateral hematoma
Maximum dimension (mm) 6 - 21 6 - 16
Mean (mm) 14 11
Density of hematoma
Mixed or iso 7 3
Low 3 5
Surgery required 210 48
Interval until surgery 1 - 2 w 1 - 8 w, mean 5 w
Regression without surgery 810 48
Regression time
<8 weeks 8 2
>8 weeks < 0 2
(a) (b)
(c) (d)
Figure 1. Cranial CT of 76-year-old female hospitalized
with left hemiplegia (a). Evacuated mixed-density B-CSDH
on right; left lesion asymptomatic and unchanged in post-
operative CT (b). Single-dose saireito (3.0 gm) given before
meal with cold water, initiated on day following surgery.
Four weeks after right-sided CSDH surgery, mixed-density
left CSDH appears low-density and diminished in size (c).
Both hematomas resolved eight weeks postoperatively (d).
(a) (b) (c)
Figure 2. Cranial CT of 83-year-old female hospitalized
with left hemiplegia (a). Mixed density B-CSDH with sur-
gery on right; left asymptomatic and unchanged in postop-
erative CT (b). Single-dose saireito (3.0 gm) given before
meal with cold water, initiated on day following surgery.
Right hemiplegia one week later, cranial CT with expanded
CSDH on left (c).
(a) (b) (c)
Figure 3. Cranial CT of 71-year-old female hospitalized
with left hemiplegia (a). Right-sided mixed (slightly low)
density CSDH with the midline shift to left; surgery per-
formed on right. Improved midline shift on postoperative
CT and left CSDH unchanged (b). Right hemiplegia eight
weeks postoperatively ; cranial CT with expanded CSDH on
left (c). No saireito given.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJCM
Effect of Postoperative Administration of Saireito for Bilateral Chronic Subdural Hematomas 287
Figure 4. Contralateral hematoma: Maximum size and
status comparison in saireito-treated and control groups. In
mixed or isodense hematomas > 16.0 mm, surgical treat-
ment was uniformly needed. However, only three patients
in the control group required surgery for low-density he-
matomas < 8.0 mm.
More sizeable lesions (16.0 mm) subjected to surgery
were mixed or isodense. In contrast, small lesions (8.0
mm) subjected to surgery were low-density, and all were
confined to the control group.
In the three instances of mixed or isodense presenta-
tion, the interval from initial surgical side to contralat-
eral surgery was less than two weeks. However, when
hematoma density was low (three cases), the time for the
onset of new neurologic symptoms (four to eight weeks)
was longer (Figure 5).
4. Discussion
CSDH may be asymptomatic and may dissipate sponta-
Figure 5. Distribution of contr alateral hematoma density by
maximum size and time between surgeries. In the saireito
group, two patients required additional surgery within two
weeks of initial intervention due to symptomatic enlarge-
ment of contralateral hematomas. In contrast, three pa-
tients in the control group experienced contralateral hema-
toma enlargement, with symptoms, at four to eight weeks
postoperatively. These three lesions were of low density.
neously, or symptoms may develop with a gradually
enlarging CSDH [8]. Even with B-CSDH, symptoms are
often attributable to a unilateral hematoma [9]. Although
surgery is standard therapy for symptomatic CSDH, it is
difficult to judge by images at a single point in time
whether or not a silent contralateral hematoma will be-
come symptomatic or regress spontaneously.
CSDH typically evolves from subdural hygroma or
acute subdural hematoma (ASDH). Repeated micro-
hemorrhages occur in the subdural space [8], provoked
by local inflammation [10]. Any CSDH that enlarges
with rebleeding, thus exceeding the capacity for absorp-
tion, may become symptomatic.
High or isodense CSDH on CT equates with propor-
tionately higher red blood cell, hemoglobin, and protein
concentrations, compared with those of low-density le-
sions [11]. Also, the time required for an acute hema-
toma to become chronic is often shorter than if subdural
effusion or hygroma is involved [12,13]. In this study,
mixed or isodense hematomas requiring contralateral
surgery were 16.0 mm or larger at presentation, and the
time prior to symptoms was relatively short (1 - 2
weeks). Understandably, they were unresponsive to
saireito, just as with ASDH. In contrast, low-density
hematomas where contralateral surgery was needed were
typically 8.0 mm or smaller at presentation and re-
mained asymptomatic longer (4 - 8 weeks). While con-
tralateral lesions of some saireito-treated patients were
small and showed a low density, none were symptomatic,
and all eventually resolved without further surgery.
Conversion of a contralateral subdural effusion or hy-
groma to CSDH is therefore seemingly prevented by
saireito, suggesting that small, low-density CSDH is an
indication for treatment.
In instances where asymptomatic hematomas re-
gressed, the time required for resolution was also shorter
with saireito, compared with that in controls. Use of
goreisan1, [2] and steroid [3-7] in tandem for CSDH
may reduce capsular inflammation, in addition to aug-
menting (via goreisan) resorption of clot. Saireito is ac-
tually a combination of goreisan and shosaikoto, another
herbal anti-inflammatory; and it is believed that en-
dogenous steroid production is boosted by saireito
through enhanced expression of subthalamic corticotro-
pin releasing factor [6,7]. Mechanistically, it is likely
that saireito controls local inflammation to reduce con-
tinued CSDH bleeding and that absorption of accumu-
lated blood is facilitated through its fluidic effects [14].
5. Conclusions
The therapeutic efficacy of sairei-to with CSDH reflects
its hydragogue properties and its capacity to raise en-
dogenous steroid levels. After unilateral surgery for
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJCM
Effect of Postoperative Administration of Saireito for Bilateral Chronic Subdural Hematomas
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IJCM
B-CSDH, saireito administration may prevent sympto-
matic deterioration of a contralateral low-density CSDH,
preempting subsequent surgery.
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