Considerations for Epidural Blood Patch and Other Postdural Puncture Headache Treatments in Patients with COVID-19

Pain Physician. 2020 Aug;23(4S):S305-S310.

Abstract

Background: A primary concern in the use of EBP in these patients is the possibility of seeding the virus in the CNS. Another important concern is related to the known hypercoagulable state in COVID-19 positive patients and associated organ dysfunction that may alter the metabolism of anticoagulants. The safety of the providers performing the EBP, the position of the patient and choices for image guidance (blind, fluoroscopic) are also key considerations to review. It is also important to explore the current state of knowledge about using allogenic instead of autologous blood as well as emerging techniques to eliminate the coronavirus from the blood.

Objectives: In this article we pose the questions of how to manage PDPH in the COVID-19 positive patient and more specifically, the use of epidural blood patch (EBP).

Methods: Literature review.

Results: EBP is usually considered after the failure of conservative and pharmacological treatments. Because of the additional risks of EBP in COVID-19 patients it is important to also consider less traditional pharmacological treatments such as theophylinnes and cosyntropin that may offer some additional benefit for COVID-19 patient. Finally, other interventions other than EBP should also be considered including occipital nerve blocks, sphenopalatine ganglion blocks (infratemporal or transnasal).

Limitations: A narrative review with paucity of literature.

Conclusion: Going forward, an effective treatment for COVID-19 or a safe vaccine and a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of the virus will certainly change the risk calculus involved in performing an EBP in a COVID-19 patient.

Keywords: COVID 19; PDPH; epidural blood patch; post dural puncture headache.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Blood Patch, Epidural / methods*
  • COVID-19
  • Conservative Treatment / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nerve Block / adverse effects
  • Nerve Block / methods
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Post-Dural Puncture Headache / therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome