Epidural blood patch: A narrative review

Anaesth Crit Care Pain Med. 2022 Oct;41(5):101138. doi: 10.1016/j.accpm.2022.101138. Epub 2022 Aug 2.


The epidural blood patch (EBP) is one of the most effective treatments for intracranial hypotension. Anesthesiologists are familiar with performing EBPs for the treatment of dural puncture-associated intracranial hypotension following spinal anesthesia, complicated epidural analgesia, and diagnostic lumbar puncture. Increasingly, EBPs are used to treat patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension. However, the treatment of these non-iatrogenic conditions presents new therapeutic challenges. The purpose of this narrative review is to discuss both procedural and diagnostic considerations of EBP for the various presentations of intracranial hypotension and allow the clinician to tailor treatment for the patient, especially in the setting of diagnostic dilemmas. After discussing EBP history and relevant anatomy, we review mechanisms of action and clinical indications for this intervention. The contraindications, complications, and treatment alternatives to the blood patch are examined in detail. Finally, objective methods to evaluate the effectiveness of the EBP, such as MRI or Doppler ultrasound, are presented as novel methods that may improve future diagnostic accuracy and treatment success.

Keywords: CSF; Epidural blood patch; Intracranial hypotension; Post dural puncture headache; Spontaneous intracranial hypotension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia, Epidural* / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Spinal* / adverse effects
  • Blood Patch, Epidural / adverse effects
  • Blood Patch, Epidural / methods
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypotension* / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Hypotension* / etiology
  • Intracranial Hypotension* / therapy
  • Spinal Puncture