Clinical features, neuroimaging and treatment of spontaneous intracranial hypotension and magnetic resonance imaging evidence of blind epidural blood patch

Eur Neurol. 2009;61(5):301-7. doi: 10.1159/000206856. Epub 2009 Mar 17.


Background and purpose: Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is an uncommon, but not rare, cause of headache. We analyzed a series of patients with SIH and attempted to establish a clinical procedure.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 11 patients with SIH who were admitted between January 2004 and May 2007. Data recorded from patients included basic data, clinical symptoms, neurological imaging studies and treatment.

Results: Orthostatic headache was the most common symptom, but there were still 2 patients without orthostatic headache. Diffuse pachymeningeal enhancement was the most common finding in brain MRI study and engorgement of the spinal epidural venous plexus was the most common finding in spinal MRI study. Eight of our patients received epidural blood patches in the lumbar area and 6 of these were symptom-free within 2 weeks. Two patients received spinal MRI immediately after administering the epidural blood patch, and this revealed that most of the blood had spread to the upper cervical area from the lumbar injection.

Conclusion: A blind epidural blood patch from the lumbar area is an acceptable procedure even if the area of leakage is unknown. A reasonable clinical procedure for the patients of SIH may minimize the rate of repeat puncture.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Patch, Epidural*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Female
  • Headache / complications
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypotension / pathology
  • Intracranial Hypotension / physiopathology*
  • Intracranial Hypotension / therapy*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord / pathology