Current Issue - November-December 2016 - Vol 19 Issue 8


  1. 2016;19;E1115-E1122Epidural Blood Patch for the Treatment of Spontaneous and Iatrogenic Orthostatic Headache
    Retrospective Evaluation
    Yun So, MD, Jung Min Park, MD, Pil-moo Lee, MD, Cho Long Kim, MD, Cheolhan Lee, PhD, and Jae Hun Kim, MD, PhD.

BACKGROUND: The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage could be happened spontaneously or related to the procedures such as spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia, CSF tapping, intrathecal chemotherapy or other spinal procedures. The leakage of CSF leads to intracranial hypotension of which distinguishing clinical feature is orthostatic headache. The epidural blood patch is a gold-standard treatment for intracranial hypotension-related orthostatic headaches.

OBJECTIVE: We conducted this study to compare the efficacy and number of epidural blood patches for spontaneous and iatrogenic orthostatic headaches.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective study.

SETTING: University hospital inpatient and outpatient referred to our pain clinic.

METHODS: Sex, weight, height, cause of orthostatic headache, leakage site evaluation test, epidural blood patch injection level, number of administered epidural blood patches, and pain intensity data were collected. We classified patients into two groups according to the cause of orthostatic headache: spontaneous (Group S) and iatrogenic (Group I). Patients with myelograms were also divided into 2 groups: multiple cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakages and no multiple leakages.

RESULTS: Overall, 133 patients (162 procedures) were managed using epidural blood patches. Groups S and I included 34 and 99 patients, respectively. In Group I, 90.9% of the patients achieved complete recovery following a single procedure, whereas 44.1% of Group S patients required repeated procedures. The average number of administered epidural blood patches was significantly higher in Group S (1.48 ± 0.64) than in Group I (1.11 ± 0.35; P = 0.007). Among 23 patients evaluated via myelography, 12 had multiple CSF leakages. Patients with multiple leakages required a significantly higher number of epidural blood patches, compared to patients without multiple leakages (P = 0.023).

LIMITATIONS: This retrospective study reveals several limitations including insufficient evaluation of CSF leakage site by myelogram and the retrospective nature of the study itself.

CONCLUSIONS: Most patients with iatrogenic orthostatic headache required a single epidural blood patch, although most did not undergo a myelogram or similar test. Patients with spontaneous orthostatic headache or multiple CSF leakages were more likely to require a repeated epidural blood patch.

Key words: CSF leakage, dural puncture, epidural blood patch, intracranial hypotension, orthostatic headache, spinal headache