Acute subdural haematoma after accidental dural puncture during epidural anaesthesia

Int J Obstet Anesth. 2004 Jan;13(1):47-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijoa.2003.06.001.


A case is reported of acute intracranial subdural haematoma following accidental dural puncture during epidural anaesthesia. A 36-year-old primigravida with a gestation of 37 weeks and 3 days underwent caesarean section for which epidural anaesthesia was initially planned. An 18-gauge Tuohy needle was inserted into the L3-4 interspace but accidental dural puncture occurred. The needle was removed and general anaesthesia was initiated for surgery. On the second day post partum, the patient described a headache in both occipital area and neck that was relieved by lying down. On the seventh post-partum day she suffered tonic-clonic convulsions and underwent computerised tomography (CT). Despite different analgesic treatments and a normal CT, the patient suffered severe headaches in the following days. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a 4-mm subdural hematoma in the right frontal area. The persisting headache decreased on day 12 and disappeared on day 14. The patient was discharged from hospital on day 15. The presence of post dural puncture headache complicated by atypical neurological deterioration following epidural anaesthesia should prompt the anaesthetist to consider the existence of intracranial complications and to seek immediate clinical and radiological diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, Epidural / adverse effects*
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / adverse effects*
  • Cesarean Section
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / etiology
  • Female
  • Headache / diagnosis
  • Headache / etiology
  • Hematoma, Subdural / diagnosis
  • Hematoma, Subdural / etiology*
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Acute / diagnosis
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Acute / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal Puncture*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed