Intracranial hypotension headache caused by a massive cerebrospinal fluid leak successfully treated with a targeted C2 epidural blood patch: A case report

Kenneth T. Sykes, Xiaobin Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cervical epidural steroid injections, administered either intralaminarly or transforaminally, are common injection therapies used in many interventional pain management practices to treat cervicalgia or cervicobrachial pain secondary to spondylosis or intervertebral disc displacement of the cervical spine. Among the risks associated with these procedures are the risk for inadvertent dural puncture and the development of positional headache from intracranial hypotension. We report the case of a 31-year-old woman with a history of migraine and cervicalgia from cervical spine spondylosis and cervical disc degenerative disease that developed an intractable orthostatic headache accompanied by nausea and vomiting after a therapeutic high cervical intralaminar epidural steroid injection was administered directly to the C1-C2 spinal level. Although the initial magnetic resonance imaging of the brain was unremarkable, a computed tomography myelogram study revealed a massive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak from the cervical spine. Repeated cervical epidural blood patches using a catheter targeted to the high cervical spine (C2) to inject 15 mL of autologous blood was required to totally alleviate her symptoms after she failed conservative therapy. Determining the optimal location or approach to administer an epidural blood patch can be a challenge depending on the location of the CSF leak. Our case demonstrates that targeted cervical epidural blood patch placement using an easily manipulated catheter under fluoroscopic guidance is a safe and effective approach to treat a massive CSF leak in the high cervical spine region caused by prior therapeutic cervical spine epidural steroid injection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-404
Number of pages6
JournalPain Physician
Volume16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Cervical epidural blood patch
  • Epidural steroid injection
  • Intracranial hypotension
  • Intracranial hypotension headache
  • Orthostatic headache
  • Post dural headache
  • Spinal headache

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