Spontaneous intracranial hypotension: Targeted or blind blood patch.

J Clin Neurosci. 2016 Mar;25:10-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2015.07.009. Epub 2015 Oct 12.

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension: Targeted or blind blood patch.


The aim of this review is to determine the efficacy and optimal strategy for epidural blood patch placement in the treatment of spontaneous intracranial hypotension. We present a 37-year-old man who developed a 4 week duration postural headache without sustaining significant trauma. The diagnosis of spontaneous intracranial hypotension with associated subdural hygromas was confirmed with lumbar puncture and radiologic imaging. Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is generally due to cerebrospinal fluid leak from the thecal sac or nerve root sleeves, although the cause of leakage is unknown. In our patient, the site of leakage was identified at cervical C1-C2 level in the spine on myelography. Conservative management with repeated epidural blood patches was successful in symptom relief and complete resolution of cerebrospinal fluid leak and subdural hygromas. We reviewed the literature for efficacy of blood patches delivered directly to the site of leakage (targeted) or to the lumbar or thoracic spine away from the site of leakage or where the site cannot be determined (blind). No clear evidence exists on comparative efficacy due to paucity of randomized trials. However, epidural blood patches in general result in positive outcomes with overall efficacy near 90%. Some trials have suggested greater efficacy for targeted rather than blind epidural blood patches, but randomized studies and long-term prognosis remain to be evaluated.


Cerebrospinal fluid; Intracranial hypotension; Spontaneous intracranial hypotension



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