UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Neurology

Title: Post-Dural Puncture Headache

Keywords: Lumbar Puncture, Lumbar Puncture headache, headache, dural puncture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/12/2007 by Aisha Liferidge, MD (Updated: 3/5/2024)
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Post-dural Puncture Headache (PDPH) PDPH = typically occurs within 3 days after a lumbar puncture (LP), improves when supine, worsens when upright and by any movement that increases intracranial pressure (i.e. sneezing, coughing), most subside within 24 hours. The pain typically distributes to the frontal-occipital region and is usually throbbing or dull. The incidence of PDPH after an ED LP ranges from 5% to 10%. While optimal operator experience, minimizing the amount of CSF removed, and having the patient lie in the recumbent position for at least 30 minutes after the procedure have all traditionally been associated with decreasing the risk of PDPH, only minimizing the bore size of the needle used has consistently been proven to decrease the risk. Treatment options: 1) Opiates, IV fluids, anti-emetics. 2) Caffeine 500 mg in 1 L of NS, IV over 1 hour (80 - 90% effective). 3) Cosyntropin (ACTH analog) 0.25 - 0.75 mg IV (~ 56% success rate). 4) Epidural blood patch, epidural fibrin glue, epidural crystalloid/colloid infusion, caudal saline infusion. Younggren, Merchant. "Post-Dural Puncture Headache." ACEP News, 26:8.