Cerebrospinal fluid-lymphatic fistula in a child with generalized lymphatic anomaly treated with targeted blood patch - a rare case report and review of the literature

Childs Nerv Syst. 2024 Apr;40(4):1301-1305. doi: 10.1007/s00381-024-06287-x. Epub 2024 Jan 18.


Spontaneous intracranial hypotension may result in debilitating postural headaches and severe neurological symptoms due to secondary cerebellar sagging. The most common cause is the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak within the spinal canal. Although previously reported in only a few cases, also paraspinal lymphatic malformations causing vertebral bone destruction may occasionally result in CSF leak to these pathological formations. Here, we present a case of a 9-year-old girl with generalized lymphatic anomaly (GLA) presenting with severe postural headache. Radiological imaging revealed a typical feature of cerebellar sagging. Myelography localized the CSF leakage into vertebral bodies of C7 and Th1, which both were partly involved in pathological paravertebral masses of known lymphatic anomaly, and from there along the right C8 nerve root sleeve into the anomaly. As the C8-nerve root could not be ligated due to the risk of significant neurological injury, we attempted image-guided targeted percutaneous epidural placement of a blood patch directly into the foramen at the affected level. The procedure resulted in obliteration of the fistula and regression of cerebellar sagging, with significant relief of symptoms. Although it is an extremely rare coincidence, patients with paraspinal lymphatic malformations may develop intraspinal CSF leak into these pathological formations. The present case report suggests that besides a direct surgical obliteration of the fistula and sacrificing the nerve root, a targeted percutaneous epidural blood patch may be a possible alternative in the case of a functionally important nerve root.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid leak; Intracranial hypotension; Lymphatic malformation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Blood Patch, Epidural / methods
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak / surgery
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fistula* / complications
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypotension* / complications
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Myelography / methods