Spontaneous intracranial hypotension and multilevel lumbar and cervical epidural blood spots: a case report

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a neurological situation wherein stress inside the cranium is decreased as a result of lack of cerebrospinal fluid from its reservoir, the intracranial area, to the encircling tissues. It’s often characterised by miraculous headache, photophobia, nausea, and vomiting, and is often refractory to medical remedy and requires additional investigation.

We describe the case of a wholesome younger man who offered to the emergency room with a postural headache accompanied by nausea, vomiting and photophobia. The mind CT examine was unremarkable and he was initially handled symptomatically. Due to the persistent ache even throughout medical remedy, extra imaging research had been carried out, together with a spinal twine examination, and a multilevel cerebrospinal fluid fistula was recognized. To deal with the underlying trigger, a primary epidural blood patch (EBP) was initially carried out in C7-T1 with 20 mL of autologous blood, however failed to supply full symptomatic reduction. Months later, a second EBP was carried out at C6-C7 with a better quantity (30 mL) however as within the first EBP, this process additionally didn’t lead to whole decision of the headache and related signs. As there was no surgical indication from orthopedics and neurosurgery and signs endured, a 3rd EBP was carried out, this time on the lumbar degree (L2-L3) with infusion of 60 mL of blood till the epidural area above the again and cervix was reached. This resulted in higher symptom reduction, now permitting the affected person to go about their regular actions with solely residual ache.

One of many drawbacks of the blood grafting method is the necessity to repeat the procedures. If attainable, it needs to be carried out on the degree of the documented fistula, however at all times with security in thoughts and by skilled palms, particularly when cervical ranges are involved. No consensus has been reached relating to the amount of blood that needs to be administered. Nonetheless, any discomfort or ache reported by the affected person needs to be considered as a warning signal and the process needs to be interrupted. Though not an ideal answer, EBP can fully or partially resolve the signs of SIH, with out the necessity for surgical intervention.

an introduction

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a neurological situation, with an estimated annual incidence of 5 per 100,000, characterised by postural headache, related to phonophobia, nausea, vomiting, and malaise. [1,2]. Postural headache after cranial trauma, extreme bodily exertion, or violent coughing ought to elevate suspicion of SIH [1]. Therapy with conservative measures resembling mattress relaxation, hydration, caffeine, and customary analgesics is usually short-lived and finally ineffective. [3]. As cervical fluidic fistulas will not be incessantly documented, knowledge is scarce relating to their remedy and efficacy stays extremely controversial. [2].

This case report contributes to present information about extra invasive methods as remedy choices for SIH, since there are only a few circumstances within the literature describing a cervical degree strategy.

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We current the case of a bodily energetic, beforehand wholesome 34-year-old male, a Caucasian male from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), who offered to the emergency room with a 2-month historical past of persistent postural headache that started whereas browsing. The day earlier than signs started, he had been doing gymnastics on a trampoline, as he had performed often. The ache was boring, nonpulsating, rated 10 out of 10 on a numerical scale, was situated within the occipital area, and radiated to each parietal areas. Died in a weak place. The accompanying signs had been nausea, vomiting, and photophobia. He described the ache as an impairment of actions of day by day dwelling.

Blood and CT scans of the mind had been unremarkable, and the affected person was despatched dwelling on ache relievers. After two months of persistent signs regardless of medical remedy, a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula was suspected and axonal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was carried out. MRI confirmed a number of cervical dorsal clusters of epidural CFS and attainable dural continuity decision on the T2-T3 degree.

An epidural blood patch (EBP) was carried out on the C7-T1 degree, with the affected person positioned in the fitting lateral recumbency (RLR) place. Utilizing the resistance loss method, an 18G Tuohy needle with a bevel dealing with the affected person’s proper aspect was used to inject 20 mL of autologous blood. The affected person was discharged with partial decision of signs, however with an indication once more vertigo.

After three months of persistent signs, myeloid computed tomography, with injection of a radioactive dye into the subarachnoid area, confirmed 5 CSF fistulas: C1-C2 bilaterally (Fig. 1 and form 2), C2-C3 proper (Fig. 3), C3-C4 left and C4-C5 proper (Fig. 4). A second cervical EBP was carried out with 30 ml of autologous blood injected on the C6-C7 degree with the bevel dealing with the cranium. There was vital scientific enchancment on the primary day after the process, and the affected person described a much less extreme headache that worsened with gentle exertion, particularly within the morning, now unrelated to physique place.

Axial-C1-C2-level-myelo-CT-show-dual-talk-outside-the-subarachnoid-space- (red arrows), - as evidence of -C1-C2-CSF-fistulas.

Parasagittal - cervical - medulla - CT - contrast shows - outside - space - subarachnoid - (red arrow), - as a guide - on - right side - C1 - C2 - CSF - fistula.

Axial-C2-C3-level-myelo-CT-show-contrast-out-of-subarachnoid space (red arrow), - as a guide-on-right-side-C2-C3-CSF-fistula.

Axial-C4-C5-level-myelo-CT-show-contrast-out-of-subarachnoid space- (red arrow), - as a guide-on-right-side-C4-C5-CSF-fistula.

He was referred to neurology and began taking gabapentin and amitriptyline, with no enchancment in signs. After dialogue with orthopedics and neurosurgery, there was no surgical indication.

Two months later, a 3rd EBP, this time on the lumbar L2-L3 degree, was carried out once more with the affected person on the RLR within the Trendelenburg place at a 15° angle. Bevel was heading as much as get the cranium scattering. With the resistance loss method, 60 ml of autologous blood was injected, and solely partial enchancment was achieved.

All three blood stains had been carried out safely, with no opposed results apart from complaints of stress on the injection website. The initially deliberate quantity of blood is at all times absolutely injected.

Since then the affected person has began working towards yoga and acquired a therapeutic massage that relieves signs. Cervical ache described as pressure-like ache (2 out of 10) persists now and is made worse by standing up rapidly or bodily exertion (8 out of 10). It has bilateral occipital temporal radiation and can also be related to photophobia. Nausea and vomiting subsided. A curious be aware is the affiliation between flares and intervals of decreased water consumption. When the ache is extreme, the affected person treats himself with paracetamol, which considerably improves signs.

Talk about

Though blood grafting is touted as an efficient remedy for orthostatic hypotension in CSF within the context of CSF fistulas, this scientific case demonstrates the potential for repeating procedures at completely different spinal ranges to be able to relieve signs and till then, incomplete decision of signs [4]. Extra invasive strategies, resembling surgical procedure, could also be wanted in fistulas documented on neuroimaging.

One of many predominant dangers of getting a blood graft is puncturing the dura mater and having access to the subarachnoid area, which may injury any constructions in it. As is thought, the spinal twine in adults ends initially of the lumbar vertebrae, so needle punctures under this degree are safer since solely the cauda equina is situated within the subarachnoid area. On this explicit case, the primary method would have been a lumbar EBP, as additionally it is simpler to carry out, however as a result of location of the documented fistulas, a cervical strategy was most well-liked. Right here, the epidural area is far narrower than on the lumbar ranges, so the amount injected needs to be decrease accordingly.

This raises an necessary query: What’s an applicable quantity of blood for infusion? The reply should consider a number of components, specifically the extent of the injection website, the velocity of the injection, and the tolerability. A number of case studies describe small cervical strategy volumes (5-8 mL) [4] In comparison with the amount of cervical blood spots (20 and 30 ml), all with out main security considerations. The velocity of the injection can modify the blood quantity as a result of the gradual and regular motion permits the epidural area to be gently expanded with out vital signs. These rely upon the extent of EBP and should embody spinal stress, numbness of a selected space (arm, leg), and even acute ache, all of which needs to be taken as warning indicators and beg the query whether or not to proceed or cease the process.

The affected person’s scenario may be a variable that must be taken into consideration. Nonetheless, it’s essential that the operator is snug {and professional}, because the supine and lateral recumbent positions make for various instructions of needle motion that one might not be accustomed to. This effectivity speculation can also be utilized in defining an epidural area, both by means of the lack of resistance or the suspension projection method. In our case on account of operator expertise, the affected person was in a lateral recumbent place and the resistance loss method was most well-liked.

The dialogue also needs to embody the kind of fluid injected. These days, mostly, this method is finished by injecting new autologous entire blood taken from the affected person concurrently the process, however some advocate the usage of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), in each circumstances with the intention of regenerating and therapeutic the broken tissues the place the fistula happens cerebrospinal fluid [5]. Each choices work by means of two completely different mechanisms: first and most fast, the rise in stress within the epidural area is transmitted to the subarachnoid area, and since intrathecal hypotension is achieved, a speedy sensation of signs is achieved. The second long-acting mechanism, coagulation components current in each entire blood and platelet-rich plasma will create a blocker that stops cerebrospinal fluid from leaving the subarachnoid area, thus sustaining epidural integrity. Different choices to contemplate embody steady infusion of epidural saline, fibrin glue, and finally surgical restore.


Our report demonstrates that exact, well-spaced, well timed procedures, whereas not fully profitable, had been in a position to enhance our affected person’s high quality of life. After CSF fistula ranges had been documented, a personalized strategy was essential. EBPs are mostly carried out within the obstetric setting, on the lumbar degree. Cervical EBP is an unusual method, primarily on account of its potential neurological issues. Unintended effects might be minimized when a number of precautions are taken into consideration, resembling spinal degree, blood quantity, affected person place, and method when figuring out the epidural area. Nonetheless, it seems to be a secure process in expert palms.

As a result of questions surrounding the a number of variables when performing EBP, additional research are wanted to guage its formal indications, indications for the multilevel strategy, time between procedures, very best quantity of blood injected, finest blood product, and general efficacy and efficacy.