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Post–Dural Puncture Headache 

Post–Dural Puncture Headache
Chapter:
Post–Dural Puncture Headache
Author(s):

Philip Rubin

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190226459.003.0056
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date: 24 February 2020

Post–dural puncture headache (PDPH) is a benign but debilitating condition that may occur as a consequence of any dural puncture, whether intentional (as with spinal anesthesia or lumbar puncture) or inadvertent (as with epidural anesthesia). The headache is characteristically unique, as it is postural in nature—worsened when sitting or standing, and markedly improved in the recumbent position. After the puncture, passage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) across the dura mater from a pressurized environment (subarachnoid space) to the epidural space, is the initial culprit behind the headache. Noninvasive conservative measures including hydration, analgesics, and caffeine intake are typically offered as initial treatments, but if those measures fail, the “gold standard” epidural blood patch is commonly offered. This procedure entails injection of autologous blood into the epidural space to both halt continued CSF “loss,” and to increase CSF pressure, both of which aid in headache resolution.

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