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J Headache Pain. 2011 Aug;12(4):453-7. doi: 10.1007/s10194-011-0331-7. Epub 2011 Apr 2.

Epidural blood patch for refractory low CSF pressure headache: a pilot study.

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Intensive Care Unit 4131, National Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Once believed an exceedingly rare disorder, recent evidence suggests that low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure headache has to be considered an important cause of new daily persistent headaches, particularly among young and middle-aged individuals. Treatment of low CSF pressure headache consists of non-invasive/conservative measures and invasive measures with epidural blood patch providing the cornerstone of the invasive measures. In the present pilot study we therefore aimed to evaluate the treatment efficacy of epidural blood patch (EBP) in treatment-refractory low-pressure headache. Our primary effect parameter was total headache burden defined as area under the curve (AUC: intensity × duration) and as secondary effect parameters we identified: intensity (VAS 0-10), frequency (days per month), duration in hours (total hours/month) and also medication days (days on medication/month). In our primary effect parameter we found a significant reduction in AUC with more than 25% and this is considered to be clinically relevant. We found also a significant and relevant reduction at -22% in intensity. A trend towards reduction in duration was seen. We found no statistically significant reduction in frequency. An increase in days with use of medication was found. Increased awareness of low CSF pressure headache is emphasized and a controlled larger randomized study is needed to confirm the results. However the present results, allows us to conclude that EBP in treatment-refractory low CSF pressure headache can be considered as a treatment option.

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