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Papers of the Week

2020 Apr 03

Int J Neurosci

Cerebrospinal fluid leaks secondary to dural tears: a review of etiology, clinical evaluation, and management.


Gandhi J, DiMatteo A, Joshi G, Smith NL, Khan S A
Int J Neurosci. 2020 Apr 03:1-13.
PMID: 32242448.


Damage to the dura mater often occurs in trauma cases of the head and spine, surgical procedures, lumbar punctures, and meningeal diseases. The resulting damage from dural tears, or durotomy, causes cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to leak out into the surrounding space. The CSF leak induces intracranial hypotension, which can clinically present with a range of symptoms not limited to positional headaches which can confound accurate diagnosis. Current methods of evaluation and management of dural tears are discussed herewith, as well as the present understanding of its etiology, which may be classified as related to surgery, procedure, trauma, or connective tissue disorder. Patients with suspected dural tears should be evaluated based on criteria set by the International Headache Society, radiological findings, and a differential diagnosis to accurately identify the tear and its potential secondary complications. Afflicted patients may be treated promptly with epidural blood patches, epidural infusions, epidural fibrin glue, or surgical repair. At this time, epidural blood patches are the first line of treatment. Dural tears can be prevented to an extent by utilizing minimally invasive techniques and certain positions for lumbar puncture. Surgical, trauma, lumbar puncture, epidural injection patients should be observed very carefully for dural tears and CSF leaks as the presenting clinical manifestations can be highly individualized and misguiding. Because studies have demonstrated a high frequency of dural tears, particularly in spinal surgery patients, there is a need for prospective studies so that clinicians can develop an elaborate prevention strategy and response to avoid serious, unseen complications.