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Ringing in the Ears and Pain in the Head 

Ringing in the Ears and Pain in the Head

Chapter:
Ringing in the Ears and Pain in the Head
Author(s):

M. Angela O’Neal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190609917.003.0015
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date: 22 July 2017

The case illustrates the classic clinical features of a low-pressure headache. The pathophysiology results from the loss of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This causes sagging of the brain, stretching of the bridging veins, and venodilatation. The clinical history is of a headache that is worse in the upright position and remits when the patient is supine. Due to the connection of the perilymphatic fluid and CSF, postural tinnitus is a frequent symptom. Risk factors for low-pressure headache include those that are patient-specific: female sex, low body mass index, prior history of a low-pressure headache, and an underlying headache disorder. Operator-specific factors that decrease the risk of a postdural puncture headache (PDPH) include greater operator experience and the use of a smaller-gauge, non-cutting lumbar puncture needle. The best treatment for low-pressure headache is a blood patch with resolution in over 90% of low-pressure headaches.

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