The management of headache following accidental dural puncture in obstetric patients

Anaesth Intensive Care. 1983 Feb;11(1):4-15. doi: 10.1177/0310057X8301100102.


The progress and management of fifty-eight obstetric patients who received an accidental dural puncture is described. Headache attributable to dural puncture occurred in 85% of patients managed conservatively. Epidural infusion or repeat epidural bolus injections of saline after delivery reduced the incidence to 65%. A therapeutic autologous blood patch using 8-10 ml of blood was performed in 28 patients at least 24 hours after the accidental puncture. Dramatic and permanent relief occurred in 75% following this procedure. A repeat blood patch was effective in four patients and ineffective in the remaining two. Mild and temporary back stiffness and one case of moderately severe radicular pain for three days were the only complications noted after the procedure. The pathophysiology and treatment of dural puncture headache is reviewed. Reduction of pressure differential across the dural puncture site is most useful in the first 24-48 hours. Persistent and severe headache occurring after this should be treated with blood patch.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Epidural / adverse effects*
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / adverse effects*
  • Blood Transfusion, Autologous*
  • Dura Mater / injuries*
  • Female
  • Headache / etiology
  • Headache / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Disorders / etiology
  • Puerperal Disorders / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects*