What is it?
Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension is caused by a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak which can cause a severe postural headache. These headaches are worse with sitting up, better with lying down, which is why they’re called “postural.” There can be other symptoms including such as impact on a person’s ability to think with clarity, hearing changes, visual disturbances. Both men and women are affected by Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension, but the diagnosis is more common among females.
The root cause of Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension is the loss of cerebrospinal fluid through a hole or tear in the spinal dura (dense, irregular connective tissue). People with connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers Danlos syndrome tend to be the patients that we see develop this condition the most, oftentimes out of the blue.
What can be done about it?
We have developed a 2-level epidural blood patch protocol , which is a needle based procedure where we draw a patients’ blood under sterile condition and use X-ray guidance to injection the patient’s own blood into the epidural space (the same space where pregnant women get labor epidurals). This can immediately improve a patient’s headache if it is caused by intracranial hypotension.
If you have a postural headache and a connective tissue disorder, this procedure may be of benefit. Contact us and Drs. Fisk and Julian will determine via initial consultation if you are a candidate.