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    Old 04-04-2006, 10:18 AM   #1
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    Leaking cerebro spinal fluid

    Hi all
    My aunt has been in hospital for nearly a week having been admitted with 2 weeks of severe headaches and vomiting. After ruling out brain tumours, she has now been diagnosed with a leak in her spinal cord, and as a result she has lost a lot of cerebro-spinal fluid. The leak has not fixed itself and she is stuck in hospital for the time being while they try to track down the leak, then try to decide what to do about it. Apparently if it is in the lumbar region, they can do what is called a lumbar patch, where they inject a blood clot into the relevant bit of the spine and this should plug the hole. I gather the fluid reproduces itself at a rate of 20ml per day (the same as blood) so once the leak is plugged the recovery is quite quick.
    However, if the leak is any higher than that a patch is dangerous, but she has not been given any idea what the treatment or prognosis might be if that is the case.
    Does anyone here have any experience of this problem, and any news on the success of treatment?

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    Old 04-09-2006, 02:14 PM   #2
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    Re: Leaking cerebro spinal fluid

    After having L4-S1 fusion in 1993 I had a dural leak (caused by a nick in the dura matter during the surgery). The headaches are definetly a symptom! In my case they knew exactly where the leak was and they inserted an intrathecal shunt (basically they did a spinal tap, insterted sort of a drain, and did a 'bypass' of the area that was damaged). After 10 days (in the hospital) it healed itself. Had it not healed on it's own I would have had the procedure you mentioned, the patch. From what I understand it is genrally a very effective treatment. I say this all with one caveat - when this occurred to me they knew exactly where the tear was and I was young (27) and in good health - so all those factors played in my favor.
    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

    Old 04-15-2006, 02:12 PM   #3
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    Re: Leaking cerebro spinal fluid

    My sister had a CSF leak last year. One day she had a horrid headache and vomiting. Diagnosed with migraine by family doc, but it didn't improve on meds so she went to ER that night. The ER doc did a spinal tap. She was hospitalized with IV caffeine and MRI the next day showed low CSF pressure. The ER doc didn't check her CSF pressure before the spinal tap, so don't know if her leak was from the tap, or a spontaneous leak prior to it.

    Anyway, she would vomit INSTANTLY whenever she'd raise her head any. When they finally did a blood patch, she had immediate improvement. She still had some headaches and vomiting which waxed and waned for almost a month, but they were nothing like the ones prior to the blood patch. It was a very scary time for her and for all of us who love her, like it must be for you... watching your Aunt suffer and not being able to help.

    Prayers to your Aunt and the medical staff caring for her, that they find the answers to make her better soon.

    Old 04-19-2006, 07:33 AM   #4
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    Re: Leaking cerebro spinal fluid

    so sorry to hear what your aunt is having to go thru,i know it is painful.did she have any sort of surgery on her cord before this all happened or was this some bizarre spontaneous type of thing?I cannot even imagine just what in the heck would cause a sudden spinal fluid leak to occur without some sort of issue happening before this just "happened".i know the blood patches are really the most effective way of treating this type of a leak.did they happen to say just why doing the patch above the lumbar is so much more risky?

    I do hope they can find the source of the leak and get her repaired and out of her suffering.please let us know what happens.Marcia
    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

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