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Post lumbar puncture headache: diagnosis and management
  1. S V Ahmed,
  2. C Jayawarna,
  3. E Jude
  1. Tameside General Hospital, Ashton-under-Lyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 S V Ahmed
 Tameside General Hospital, Fountain Street, Ashton Under-Lyne OL6 9RW, UK; syed.ahmed{at}tgh.nhs.uk

Abstract

Lumbar puncture is a frequently performed procedure in medical emergencies and anaesthesia. Headache after lumbar puncture is a common occurrence (32%) and carries a considerable morbidity, with symptoms lasting for several days, at times severe enough to immobilise the patient. If untreated, it can result in serious complications such as subdural haematoma and seizures, which could be fatal. Certain factors contribute to the development of headache after lumbar puncture. If these factors are taken into consideration, the incidence of headache could be markedly reduced. It is therefore important that the doctors are aware of the methods available for reducing the incidence of headaches after lumbar puncture. On the other hand, there are several misconceptions that are thought to decrease the incidence of headaches with no scientific basis. This article reviews the scientific literature and highlights the practical issues involved in the diagnosis and management of headaches after lumbar puncture, including the epidural blood patch treatment.

  • CSF, cerebrospinal fluid
  • lumbar puncture
  • headache
  • lumbar puncture needle
  • position during lumbar puncture
  • epidural blood patch

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None.

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