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Post Lumbar Puncture Headache

(4 Posts)
MikeSH1 Fri 05-Dec-14 12:04:21

y wife had a Lumbar Puncture and within 24 hours was crippled by what she described as the worst headache you can ever imagine. She went back in to the hospital the next day and they performed the Blood Patch procedure which gave her immediate relief, however after 24 hours the headache was back :-( Went back to the hospital and the registrar was of the opinion that the blood patch had failed and therefore would most likely fail again if they repeated it (although I have read a lot online how a second blood patch attempt has a much higher success rate if the first one failed).

Has anyone else experienced a failed blood patch?

What some of timescales are people experiencing with regard to the headache going?

Is it true what I am reading everywhere about plenty of caffeine to help the pain?

Sorry for all the questions guys, I'm just desperate to help my wife, I have never seen her suffer so much! :-(

notgivenupyet Fri 05-Dec-14 12:25:20

I have had more lumbar punctures than I can remember. When the LP is performed, they use a hollow needle to drain cerebral spinal fluid. Sometimes it can take several attempts to place the needle and can result in several 'nicks' or holes. After the needle is removed the hole leaks and can take a while to heal and will continue to leak csf and very often pressure drops inside the skull and this is regarded as low pressure headache, which is agony.

Lots of neurologists won't perform blood patch, they aren't known to hugely successful as you are finding out and they are painful.

The best advice is.
1. Lie completely flat with no pillow under your head.
2. Raise the foot of the bed with bricks.

3. Drink profusely (water)

4 Take a caffeine tablet according to pack instructions (raises intracranial pressure)
5. Take a painkiller containing codeine (if this is safe for you to take) codeine is a strong painkiller which helps with the agony but also raises intracranial pressure
6. Drink using a bottle with sports cap, don't sit up to drink.
7. Eat lying down.

The more you move the more the Dura which is trying to heal is stretched and leaks more. I am sorry that your wife has not been prepared for this more, I was in exactly the same position following my first Lp and thought I was dying.

It can take up to 10day to feel better once low pressure has started, this is quite normal. Get your life some good magazines or a book or a good dvd box set and give lots of reassurance, she will be feeling absolutely awful and as a last note take her temperature every 4 hours. If her temp rises and she develops a fever. Get her back to hospital she could have contracted an infection.

If you follow the above advise she should begin to feel improvement in 24-hours, don't be fooled and then get up, as the pressure will drop again as the hole hasn't healed and the low pressure will begin again. Good luck!

DontPushTheButton Fri 05-Dec-14 12:50:14

I second the above advice. However we did push for, and get, a second patch. But in the meantime the above will help.

WrappedInABlankie Fri 05-Dec-14 13:38:39

I third the pp, sounds much like low pressure, I've been a lucky one and never had it but have had 21 nicks in one procedure before and when my intracranial pressure is high lying down helps me rather than hinders so can't offer much help, I know coffee and high caffeine products like red bull, coke etc are advised and to rest as much as possible

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