Background and purpose: Comprehensive diagnostic criteria encompassing the varied clinical and radiographic manifestations of spontaneous intracranial hypotension are not available. Therefore, we propose a new set of diagnostic criteria.
Materials and methods: The diagnostic criteria are based on results of brain and spine imaging, clinical manifestations, results of lumbar puncture, and response to epidural blood patching. The diagnostic criteria include criterion A, the demonstration of extrathecal CSF on spinal imaging. If criterion A is not met, criterion B, which is cranial MR imaging findings of spontaneous intracranial hypotension, follows, with at least one of the following: 1) low opening pressure, 2) spinal meningeal diverticulum, or 3) improvement of symptoms after epidural blood patch. If criteria A and B are not met, there is criterion C, the presence of all of the following or at least 2 of the following if typical orthostatic headaches are present: 1) low opening pressure, 2) spinal meningeal diverticulum, and 3) improvement of symptoms after epidural blood patch. These criteria were applied to a group of 107 consecutive patients evaluated for spontaneous spinal CSF leaks and intracranial hypotension.
Results: The diagnosis was confirmed in 94 patients, with use of criterion A in 78 patients, criterion B in 11 patients, and criterion C in 5 patients.
Conclusions: A new diagnostic scheme is presented reflecting the wide spectrum of clinical and radiographic manifestations of spontaneous spinal CSF leaks and intracranial hypotension.