Effectiveness of an epidural blood patch for patients with intracranial hypotension syndrome and persistent spinal epidural fluid collection after treatment

J Neurosurg. 2010 Nov;113(5):940-6. doi: 10.3171/2009.10.JNS09806. Epub 2009 Nov 13.


Object: Magnetic resonance imaging may show a fluid collection in the spinal epidural space of patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension syndrome (SIHS), but the chronological changes remain unclear.

Methods: Brain and spine MR imaging findings were analyzed in 16 patients (9 women and 7 men, mean age 48.6 years) with SIHS before and after treatment.

Results: Diffuse dural enhancement was seen in 15 patients, and the epidural fluid collection in the spinal canal was clear in 15 and equivocal in 1. Symptoms disappeared after bed rest in 1 patient, and an epidural blood patch was performed in 15 patients, resulting in complete resolution of symptoms in 13. After the follow-up period (range 1-20 months, mean 5.0 months), 1 patient had persistent mild headache that gradually worsened in the afternoon, and another patient complained of heaviness of the eyes. Follow-up MR imaging demonstrated disappearance of the dural enhancement in all patients, but a fluid collection in the spinal canal remained in 4. Two of the 4 patients had persistent symptoms, but the other patients exhibited complete resolution of the symptoms.

Conclusions: An epidural blood patch is effective for sealing of CSF leaks, but the resolution of SIHS-related symptoms does not always imply complete eradication of the leakage.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Patch, Epidural*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dura Mater / pathology*
  • Female
  • Headache / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypotension / pathology
  • Intracranial Hypotension / therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome