Author(s): Schievink WI
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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.
This article was published in Cephalalgia
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access