Spontaneous spinal cerebrospinal fluid leaks.

Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.
Cephalalgia (Impact Factor: 4.12). 01/2009; 28(12):1345-56. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2008.01776.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is an uncommon but not rare cause of new onset daily persistent headaches. A delay in diagnosis is the norm. Women are affected more commonly than men and most are in the fifth or sixth decade of life. The underlying cause is a spontaneous spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. Typically the headache is orthostatic in nature but other headache patterns occur as well. Associated symptoms are common and include neck pain, a change in hearing, diplopia, facial numbness, cognitive abnormalities and even coma. Typical imaging findings consist of subdural fluid collections, pachymeningeal enhancement, pituitary hyperaemia and brain sagging, but magnetic resonance imaging may be normal. Myelography is the study of choice to identify the CSF leak but is not always necessary to make the diagnosis. Treatment consists of bedrest, abdominal binder, epidural blood patching, percutaneous fibrin glue injection or surgical CSF leak repair. Outcomes have been poorly studied.

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    ABSTRACT: Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a rare pathology caused by unexplained and variably localized leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The prime symptom is orthostatic headache, although other less specific clinical signs may predominate, and mislead diagnosis. A 47-year-old man presented with Ménière-like symptoms of sudden onset. Secondary orthostatic headache led to the performance of cerebral MRI, which found signs suggestive of intracranial hypotension. A blood-patch was immediately carried out, and was followed by consciousness disorder associated with onset of bilateral subdural hematoma, which required iterative neurosurgical drainage. Myelo-CT confirmed CSF leakage facing the right 12th dorsal nerve root sheath. Radio-guided sealing with biologic glue provided complete regression of all symptoms. Auditory signs may predominate in the clinical presentation of SIH. Their orthostatic character is suggestive. The present case is of a rare severe form. The role of neurosurgery in such cases remains to be defined.
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