Spontaneous low cerebrospinal pressure: a mini review

Neurol Sci. 2004 Oct;25 Suppl 3:S135-7. doi: 10.1007/s10072-004-0272-x.


Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a syndrome of low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure characterised by postural headaches in patients without any history of dural puncture or penetrating trauma. Described by Schaltenbrand in 1938, SIH is thought to result from an occult CSF leak resulting in decreased CSF volume and, consequently, in low CSF pressure. Magnetic resonance imaging of the head and spine has improved the diagnosis of the syndrome showing peculiar radiographic abnormalities including diffuse pachymeningeal enhancement, subdural fluid collections and downward displacement of the cerebral structures. Treatment of SIH headache should start with conservative, non-invasive therapies while epidural blood patch has emerged as the treatment of choice for those symptomatic patients who have failed medical noninvasive approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Hypotension / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed