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Cerebrospinal fluid leakage, which usually occurs idiopathically or traumatically as a rare situation, is a rare disease that causes orthostatic headache or idiopathic chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH).

Spinal leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is considered to be the primary cause of spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). Subdural haematoma (SDH) is a serious complication of SIH and is usually neglected by the neurosurgeon.

Young adult patients with recurrent CSH and prior presence of bilateral CSH, a survey for an underlying spinal cerebrospinal fluid leak should be considered in the differential, especially in the background of trauma 1).


The treatment strategy ought to be modified, as classical treatment could lead to unwanted consequences.

Case series


15 patients who underwent operation for CSDHs between June 2012 and June 2014 at Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital of Zhejiang University were included in this retrospective cohort study. The clinical and imaging data of these patients with CSDHs due to spinal CSF leak were retrospectively studied. Fifteen patients, with a mean age of 53.8 ± 8.3 years, underwent operations for CSDH. Hematomas were unilateral in 4 patients and bilateral in 11 patients. Among these patients, eight patients had recurrence of hematomas after operation due to neglect of spinal CSF leak. All patients had fully recovery 2).


Consecutive 20 patients (11 women; age 44.7±12.1 years) between April, 2006 and March, 2014, who were diagnosed by MRI and/or CT myelography (CTM), were evaluated retrospectively about clinical features. The main symptoms were as follows: orthostatic headache only; 10 cases, orthostatic headache with CSDH; 6, and none-orthostatic headache accompanied with CSDH; 4. As a treatment, direct surgeries were performed in 2 cases. Epidural blood patch (EBP) was applied in 14 cases (direct surgery was performed finally in the early one case), and widespread EBP with a single lumbar entry point utilizing an intravenous catheter was performed especially in the latest 9 cases. Another 5 cases were treated simply with the administration of a drip infusion regardless of the drainage for CSDH. Of 10 cases suffering from headache only, the headache disappeared completely or it was relieved in 9 cases. Of 10 cases accompanied with CSDH, recurrence of hematoma was prevented in all cases with a drip infusion after the drainage in one case and EBP after the drainage in another 9 cases. It was certified that we could diagnose CSF leak correctly with MRI and/or CTM and control this disorder almost completely with widespread EBP utilizing an intravenous catheter 3).

Case reports


A 43-year-old male complained of experiencing orthostatic headaches for 2 months without neurological signs. The patient worsened in a local hospital and was transferred to the Sir Run Run Hospital. Brain computed tomography showed bilateral SDH with a midline shift. The patient underwent emergency trephination in the left frontal temporal region. Postoperative magnetic resonance myelography showed a CSF leak originating at the T11-L2 level. As a consequence of clinical deterioration of the patient, EBP was subsequently performed at the T12-L1 level. The headache was rapidly relieved and later the SDH was completely absorbed. This case report and literature review aims to remind clinicians that SIH can cause SDH and that EBP is a viable treatment option 4).

A 59-year-old man presented with a case of SIH that manifested as a bilateral chronic SDH. He developed fatal extensive pneumocephalus and SDH re-accumulation as a complication of burr-hole drainage. Despite application of an epidural blood patch, the spinal cerebrospinal fluid leak continued, which required open spinal surgery. Chronic SDH management should not be overlooked, especially if the exact cause has not been determined. When chronic SDH assumed to be associated with SIH, the neurosurgeon should determine the exact cause of SIH in order to effectively correct the cause 5).

A 57-year-old woman found to have a chronic subdural hematoma 1 month following resection of a thoracic extramedullary ependymoma. Evacuation of the hematoma through a burr hole relieved the presenting symptoms and signs. Resolution of the hematoma was confirmed with a computed tomography (CT) scan.

Headache and other symptoms not referable to spinal pathology should be regarded as a warning sign of an intracranial subdural hematoma, and a CT scan of the head should be obtained. The mechanism of the development of the hematoma may be related to the leakage of cerebrospinal fluid with subsequent intracranial hypotension leading to an expanding subdural space and hemorrhage 6).

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Wan Y, Xie J, Xie D, Xue Z, Wang Y, Yang S. Clinical characteristics of 15 cases of chronic subdural hematomas due to spontaneous intracranial hypotension with spinal cerebrospinal fluid leak. Acta Neurol Belg. 2016 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26769700.
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Zhang J, Jin D, Pan KH. Epidural blood patch for spontaneous intracranial hypotension with chronic subdural haematoma: A case report and literature review. J Int Med Res. 2016 Aug;44(4):976-81. doi: 10.1177/0300060516645955. Epub 2016 May 25. PubMed PMID: 27225863.
Shin HS, Lee SH, Ko HC, Koh JS. Extended Pneumocephalus after Drainage of Chronic Subdural Hematoma Associated with Intracranial Hypotension : Case Report with Pathophysiologic Consideration. J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2016 Jan;59(1):69-74. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2016.59.1.69. Epub 2016 Jan 20. PubMed PMID: 26885290; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4754592.
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chronic_subdural_hematoma_with_cerebrospinal_fluid_leakage.txt · Last modified: 2016/08/16 16:59 (external edit)