Lumbar Puncture and "blood patch"

August 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

If the puncture is without complications, you would not require any protocol.

Following my second lumbar puncture I went immediately about my business with no trouble what so ever.

Not so for my first lumbar puncture. I suffered for days, nay a week or more, because my puncture was done at a place 100 miles from my home right before a July 4th weekend. The problem? I call it a leak. Yep, your spinal fluid is likely leaking out of the puncture site. this causes the prolonged headache.

The solution- a procedure called a “blood patch.” Notify your doctor that you are still suffering. The procedure ‘should’ be offered.

“They”, meaning the place 100 miles away, told me to go to the emergency room and request the procedure.

I did not and luckily, eventually recovered. However, I wish, in hindsight, that I had received the blood patch immediately.

From the NIH: “…Abstract

[I]Post-lumbar puncture headache is a common complication of dural puncture. Treatment of severe cases with an epidural ‘blood patch’–injection of 10-20 ml autologous blood into the epidural space at the site of the dural puncture–is an effective and safe method with few and generally mild complications. The method has been used by anesthesiologists for many years with good results, but only rarely by radiologists, neurologists and other specialists who often perform lumbar punctures…[/I]”

autologous, just as in the NWU Stem Cell Transplant Program merely means ‘your own.’