Performance and complications of lumbar puncture in memory clinics: Results of the multicenter lumbar puncture feasibility study

Alzheimers Dement. 2016 Feb;12(2):154-163. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2015.08.003. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


Introduction: Lumbar puncture (LP) is increasingly performed in memory clinics. We investigated patient-acceptance of LP, incidence of and risk factors for post-LP complications in memory clinic populations.

Methods: We prospectively enrolled 3868 patients (50% women, age 66 ± 11 years, mini mental state examination 25 ± 5) at 23 memory clinics. We used logistic regression analysis using generalized estimated equations to investigate risk factors for post-LP complications, such as typical postlumbar puncture headache (PLPH) and back pain.

Results: A total of 1065 patients (31%) reported post-LP complaints; 589 patients (17%) reported back pain, 649 (19%) headache, of which 296 (9%) reported typical PLPH. Only few patients needed medical intervention: 11 (0.3%) received a blood patch, 23 (0.7%) were hospitalized. The most important risk factor for PLPH was medical history of headache. An atraumatic needle and age >65 years were preventive. Gender, rest after LP, or volume of cerebrospinal fluid had no effect.

Discussions: The overall risk of complications is relatively low. If risk factors shown in this study are taken into account, LPs can be safely performed in memory clinics.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cognitive disorders; Lumbar puncture; Memory clinic; Multicenter study on LP feasibility; Post-LP complications; Post-LP headache.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Cognition Disorders / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Dementia / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Post-Dural Puncture Headache / epidemiology
  • Post-Dural Puncture Headache / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Puncture / methods