Intracranial hypotension is a rare cause of orthostatic headache: a review of the etiology, treatment and prognosis of 13 cases

Authors: Güler S, Cağlı B, Utku U, Unlü E, Celik Y.

Objectives: The aim of this investigation is to examine the causes, clinical picture, treatment, and prognosis of spontaneous intracranial hypotension, a rare cause of orthostatic headache, among the cases presenting in our clinic. Methods: Thirteen cases (5 males and 8 females), diagnosed with spontaneous intracranial hypotension in our clinic between January 1st, 2009 and October 30th, 2011, were included in this study. The presenting symptoms, treatment, findings on cranial magnetic resonance imaging, cerebrospinal fluid pressure measured at lumbar puncture (in available patients), and the healing period of the patients were recorded. Results: Five patients with orthostatic headache and accompanying symptoms were treated with bed rest, increase in oral fluid intake, intravenous hydration and caffeine, and experienced a complete recovery. Complete recovery was observed in two patients (15.3%) within 10 days, in another two (15.3%) within 15 days and in one patient (7.6%) within 21 days. Headache and other clinical symptoms significantly regressed within 30 days in four patients (37.6%) who received similar treatment, but a mild headache persisted intermittently during follow-up in these individuals. As the headache had not resolved after 30 days, an epidural blood patch was applied in these four cases (37.6%) and the clinical picture completely improved within 10 to 15 days. Conclusion: Spontaneous intracranial hypotension should primarily be suspected in cases complaining about postural headache and contrast-enhanced cranial imaging should be performed. The presence of cranial nerve paralysis and pyramidal tract signs should b considered. Conservative treatments should be considered initially, however if conservative treatments fail, epidural blood patches must be applied.

Free Full text and source: The Journal of Turkish society of Algology

Agri. 2013 Apr;25(2):69-77. doi: 10.5505/agri.2013.97720.