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Papers of the Week

2022 Jan-Jun

Anaesth Rep



Cerebral vasospasm syndromes and postpartum eclampsia associated with post-dural puncture headache.


Santos DJRR, Estevens TMRN, Farinha RFOL
Anaesth Rep. 2022 Jan-Jun; 10(1):e12150.
PMID: 35265847.


Headache is common in the puerperium, with a wide variety of underlying aetiologies. We describe a unique case of postpartum headache after accidental dural puncture with a Tuohy needle in a previously healthy woman during a combined spinal-epidural for labour analgesia. Initially, a post-dural puncture headache was diagnosed. Eclampsia was subsequently suspected after the development of complex partial seizures and proteinuria 5 days postpartum. After neurological examination and neuroimaging, however, the diagnoses of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome and posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome were confirmed. We hypothesise that accidental dural puncture which resulted in post-dural puncture headache may have delayed the diagnosis of other headache aetiologies and may have acted as a trigger for the development of cerebral vasospasm syndromes. This case demonstrates the importance of a careful assessment of postpartum headaches and the need for a high degree of diagnostic suspicion in cases of refractory post-dural puncture headache. In these cases, neurological referral and neuroimaging evaluation should be considered. We highlight the importance of multidisciplinary team including anaesthetists, obstetricians and other clinicians.