Safety of Lumbar Puncture Performed on Dual Antiplatelet Therapy

Mayo Clin Proc. 2018 May;93(5):627-629. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.02.005. Epub 2018 Mar 22.


Practice guidelines generally recommend delaying lumbar puncture (LP) in patients on dual antiplatelet therapy, with these recommendations often citing an increased risk of hemorrhagic complications, specifically the development of epidural hematomas. However, no data exist about the risks of performing an LP in the setting of dual antiplatelet therapy and conclusions are often based on data from spinal anesthesia literature. We reviewed the medical records of 100 patients who underwent LP while taking dual antiplatelet therapy. We recorded the number of traumatic and bloody cerebrospinal fluid results as well as the presence of any complications occurring within 3 months of the procedure. Complications requiring imaging or hospitalization were considered serious. The most common complication was back pain, which was reported by 2 patients, only 1 of which was ultimately found to be attributable to the procedure. No serious complications occurred. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis was consistent with a traumatic LP, defined as having at least 100 red blood cells per microliter, in 8% of cases. Bloody LP, defined as having 1000 red blood cells per microliter, occurred in 4% of cases. The percentage of traumatic or bloody LPs was within the range reported previously for LPs performed in any setting. Although this is a small study and additional review is necessary, performing LPs in the setting of dual antiplatelet therapy may not pose an increased risk of serious complications.

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Puncture / methods


  • Anticoagulants
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors