Postpartum headache after epidural blood patch: investigation and diagnosis.
Use of an epidural blood patch to treat spinal headache after accidental dural puncture is well recognized. The high success rate associated with this practice has been questioned and it is not uncommon for patients to suffer recurring headaches after a supposedly successful blood patch. We describe a patient in labour who suffered accidental dural puncture, and whose headache was treated twice with an epidural blood patch. Despite this, the headache persisted. The case highlights the difficulty in the diagnosis of headache in the postnatal period in patients who have had regional analgesia and the importance of considering an alternative pathology, even if epidural blood patching has been successful. In this case, a diagnosis of cortical vein thrombosis was made. The incidence, presentation, aetiology and treatment of this rare condition is described. (+info)
Randomised controlled trial of atraumatic versus standard needles for diagnostic lumbar puncture.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the ease of use of atraumatic needles with standard needles for diagnostic lumbar puncture and the incidence of headache after their use. DESIGN: Double blind, randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Investigation ward of a neurology unit in a university hospital. PARTICIPANTS: 116 patients requiring elective diagnostic lumbar puncture. INTERVENTIONS: Standardised protocol for lumbar puncture with 20 gauge atraumatic or standard needles. OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary end point was intention to treat analysis of incidence of moderate to severe headache, assessed at one week by telephone interview. Secondary end points were incidence of headache at one week analysed by needle type, ease of use by operator according to a visual analogue scale, incidence of backache, and failure rate of puncture. RESULTS: Valid outcome data were available for 97 of 101 patients randomised. Baseline characteristics were matched except for higher body mass index in the standard needle group. By an intention to treat analysis the absolute risk of moderate to severe headache with atraumatic needles was reduced by 26% (95% confidence interval 6% to 45%) compared with standard needles, but there was a non-significantly greater absolute risk of multiple attempts at lumbar puncture (14%, -4% to 32%). Higher body mass index was associated with an increased failure rate with atraumatic needles, but the reduced incidence of headache was maintained. The need for medical interventions was reduced by 20% (1% to 40%). CONCLUSIONS: Atraumatic needles significantly reduced the incidence of moderate to severe headache and the need for medical interventions after diagnostic lumbar punctures, but they were associated with a higher failure rate than standard needles. (+info)
Severe headache associated with occupational exposure to Stoddard solvent.
We report a case of recurrent headaches in a woman with a workplace exposure to airborne (misted) lubricating fluid containing Stoddard solvent. For 2 months, the employee was seen by her family physician, a neurologist and an ophthalmologist. All attempted to diagnose the cause of and treat her headaches. Despite extensive testing, no etiology was discovered. Her headaches continued despite the use of medications. The employee, suspecting an occupational connection, changed the lubricating fluid at her workstation to a non-Stoddard solvent. Within 2 days she reported the complete resolution of her headaches with no further recurrences. A thorough occupational history and literature review supported exposure to Stoddard solvent as the probable source of her headaches. (+info)
The therapeutic potential of melatonin in migraines and other headache types.
A large number of individuals suffer from migraine headaches. Several theories attempt to explain migraine etiology. One such theory holds that since environmental stimuli are well known to trigger migraine headaches, the pineal gland may be involved in migraine etiology. Specifically, a pineal gland irregularity may be the physical origin of migraine headaches, with subsequent physiological changes being secondary. Research has found the pineal hormone melatonin is low in migraine patients. Additionally, several studies found administering melatonin to migraine sufferers relieved pain and decreased headache recurrence in some cases. It has been suggested melatonin may play an important therapeutic role in the treatment of migraines and other types of headaches, particularly those related to delayed sleep phase syndrome. Current research supports the hypothesis that migraines are a response to a pineal circadian irregularity in which the administration of melatonin normalizes this circadian cycle; i.e., melatonin may play a role in resynchronizing biological rhythms to lifestyle and subsequently relieve migraines and other forms of headaches. In addition, research testing the administration of melatonin found it safe in migraine sufferers, with few or no side effects. However, a larger, randomized control trial is needed to definitively determine if administration of melatonin to migraine patients is effective. (+info)
Radiofrequency neurotomy for the treatment of third occipital headache.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of a revised technique of percutaneous radiofrequency neurotomy for third occipital headache. METHODS: The revisions included using a large gauge electrode, ensuring minimum separation between the three electrode placements, and holding the electrode in place by hand. The revised technique was used to treat 51 nerves in 49 patients diagnosed as suffering from third occipital headache on the basis of controlled diagnostic blocks of the third occipital nerve. The criteria for successful outcome were complete relief of pain for at least 90 days associated with restoration of normal activities of daily living, and no use of drug treatment for the headache. RESULTS: Of the 49 patients, 43 (88%) achieved a successful outcome. The median duration of relief in these patients was 297 days, with eight patients continuing to have ongoing relief. Fourteen patients underwent a repeat neurotomy to reinstate relief, with 12 (86%) achieving a successful outcome. The median duration of relief in these patients was 217 days, with six patients having ongoing relief. Side effects of the procedure were consistent with coagulation of the third occipital nerve and consisted of slight ataxia, numbness, and temporary dysaesthesia. No side effects required intervention, and they were tolerated by the patients in exchange for the relief of headache. CONCLUSIONS: Use of the revised procedure greatly improved the rather low success rate previously encountered with third occipital neurotomy. Although the relief of headache is limited in duration, it is profound and can be reinstated by repeat neurotomy. No other form of treatment has been validated for this common form of headache. (+info)
Postpartum cerebral ischaemia after accidental dural puncture and epidural blood patch.
Puerperal women are reported to have a rate of cerebral infarction 13 times greater than non-pregnant females. We report a case of cerebral ischaemia in a 30-yr-old healthy parturient after epidural analgesia for labour, complicated by dural puncture treated with two epidural blood patches. Investigations showed the development of cerebral ischaemia on postpartum day 14. A transcranial Doppler ultrasonography showed vasospasm of the left middle cerebral artery still present at 3-month follow-up. At 1-yr follow-up, the patient had homonymous hemianopsia. We discuss the possible causative mechanism of the cerebral ischaemia in relation to the dural puncture and epidural blood patch. (+info)
Relieving migraine pain: sorting through the options.
Although triptans are a major advance in the treatment of migraine, the optimal approach for acute treatment involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, nonpharmacologic symptom relief, and drug therapy. (+info)
Clinical features of episodic migraine and transformed migraine: a comparative study.
Transformed migraine (TM) is one of the most frequent types of chronic daily headache. Eighty patients: 40 with episodic migraine (EM) and 40 with TM with ages ranging from 18 to 60 years old were studied. Females were the majority. At first examination, the mean age was similar in both groups. The initial age of migraine attacks was significantly smaller in the TM group. Time history of episodic attacks was similar in both groups. In the EM group, the headache was predominantly located on only one side of the head; whereas in the TM group, on more than one side. There was variation in the character of pain and intensity in the TM group. Nocturnal awakening with headache, aura and family history did not show significant association with EM or TM. The TM was distinguished from the EM in relation to the frequency, location and pain intensity of the headache. Patients with early migraine headache onset may exhibit a further risk of developing TM. (+info)