Current Issue - May/June 2017 - Vol 20 Issue 4


  1. 2017;20;E521-E529Effectiveness of Lateral Decubitus Position for Preventing Post-Dural Puncture Headache: A Meta-Analysis
    Jeetinder Kaur Makkar, MD, DNB , and Andres Zorrilla-Vaca, MD.

BACKGROUND: Post-dural puncture headache (PDPH) is a relatively common complication of lumbar punctures for spinal anesthesia or neurologic diagnosis. For many years, a high number of drugs has been evaluated to treat PDPH, yet there is a minority to prevent this complication. The lateral decubitus position instead of sitting position during lumbar puncture has become an interesting approach because of its feasibility and patient satisfaction.

OBJECTIVES: In this meta-analysis we hypothesized that lateral decubitus position is an effective manner to prophylactically reduce the incidence of PDPH.

STUDY DESIGN: This meta-analysis pooled all data published in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the impact of position (sitting versus lateral decubitus) during lumbar puncture and the incidence of PDPH.

SETTINGS: This work was performed at Universidad del Valle, in Cali, Colombia, in collaboration with the Department of Anesthesiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

METHODS: Our group searched in PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar for relevant RCTs, dating from 1990 to July 2016, that compared the sitting and lateral decubitus position with regards to the incidence of PDPH in adult patients (age > 18 years) undergoing lumbar puncture for spinal anesthesia or neurologic diagnosis.

RESULTS: Literature search identified 7 eligible RCTs (6 on spinal anesthesia and only one on neurologic diagnosis) with 1,101 patients, of which 557 had lumbar punctures in lateral decubitus position and 544 in sitting position. Only 3 (out of 7) RCTs favored the lateral decubitus position to significantly reduce the PDPH. Meta-analysis showed that the lateral decubitus position was associated with a significant reduction of the incidence of PDPH (risk ratio [RR] = 0.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.44-0.86, P = 0.004, I2 = 25%, P for heterogeneity = 0.24) compared with the sitting position. Subgroup analysis showed that lateral decubitus position is also associated with reduction of PDPH in spinal anesthesia (RR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.50-0.95, I2 = 0%, P for heterogeneity = 0.42). We found no statistically significant association between lateral decubitus position and successful placement of spinal needle at first attempt (RR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.92-1.09, P = 0.94, I2 = 73%, P for heterogeneity = 0.01). There was no evidence of publication bias in our analyses (Egger’s bias = -0.05, P = 0.96).

LIMITATIONS: The low number of RCTs might be an important limitation on our results.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that lateral decubitus position during lumbar puncture seems to be a good alternative for preventing PDPH. Further research should focus on the new prophylactic alternatives to reduce the incidence of PDPH.