Editor-in-Chief: Kenneth D. Candido, MD
The common denominator of spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH), postsurgical cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leaks, and postpuncture headache (PPH) is a decrease in CSF volume. The typical presentation is orthostatic headaches, but atypical headaches can be difficult to diagnose and challenging to treat. Management is based on clinical suspicion and characterization of the headache, followed by imaging (noninvasive or invasive). Treatment ranges from conservative to different modalities of epidural blood patches, fibrin glue injections, or surgical exploration and repair.
We report 5 cases with great variation in clinical and radiological presentations. Two cases of SIH involved difficult diagnosis and treatment, 2 others featured postsurgical high-flow CSF leaks, and one case presented with a low-flow CSF leak that needed closer evaluation in relation to hardware manipulation.
In all cases, recommendations for diagnosis and management of intracranial hypotension were followed, even though in 3 cases the mechanism of trauma was not related to spontaneous hypotension.
All cases of headache were resolved.
The actual recommendations for SIH are very effective for PPH and postsurgical CSF leaks. With this case series, we illustrate how anatomical and clinical considerations are paramount in choosing appropriate imaging modalities and clinical management.
KEY WORDS: CSF leak, epidural blood patch, intracranial hypotension, postural headaches, subdural hematomas