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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-22

Retrospective analysis of clinical efficacy of protocol-based management of postdural puncture headache in patients undergoing cesarean section under spinal anesthesia

1 Division of Anaesthesiology, Oman Medical Specialty Board, Khoula Hospital, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
2 Department of Anesthesia and ICU, Khoula Hospital, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Correspondence Address:
Naresh Kaul
Department of Anesthesia and ICU, Khoula Hospital, Muscat
Sultanate of Oman
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpn.ijpn_3_17

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Despite advances in needle size and design, postdural puncture headache (PDPH) still remains a significant cause of morbidity in parturients receiving spinal anesthesia. Several treatment options have been suggested to treat PDPH ranging from bed rest, rehydration, and analgesics to epidural blood patch. At our institution, we adhere to a strict protocol for managing PDPH wherein adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) is one of the treatment steps in cases of unrelieved PDPH. We carried out a 1-year retrospective analysis to note the efficacy of ACTH in managing PDPH in patients undergoing spinal anesthesia for cesarean section. All patients with PDPH were followed up for at least 2 months after being discharged from the hospital to note recurrence, if any. Data revealed that a total of 614 patients received spinal anesthesia during this period using a 25- or 26-G Quincke needle with the patient in the sitting position using a midline approach. Totally 31 patients developed PDPH and all patients reported their headache spontaneously. As per protocol, if the PDPH did not resolve or lessen in intensity with bed rest and simple analgesics (paracetamol, diclofenac or tramadol alone, or in combination) over the first 24 h, two injections of ACTH (1.5 μg/kg in 500 ml saline intravenous over 30 min) were administered 12 h apart. No further injections of ACTH were administered. If any treatment modality demonstrated relief or attenuation in PDPH, the patient was observed for the next 2 days. If there was no further improvement, next step of the protocol using epidural blood patch was adopted. Of these 614 patients, 31 developed PDPH giving an incidence of 5.04%. The first line of conservative treatment with bed rests and simple analgesics was successful in relieving or alleviating PDPH in 20 patients (64.5%) within 24 h. About 11 patients (35.5%) went on to receive ACTH as the second conservative line of management. In 10 of these 11 patients (90.9%), PDPH either resolved or showed significant relief between 12 and 48 h after the last ACTH injection. No further treatment was required in them. In 1 out of 11 (9.1%) patients who received ACTH, PDPH remained unresolved and the patient went on to receive epidural blood patch for alleviation of her symptoms. Epidural blood patch resulted in 90% relief of her PDPH. In conclusion, initial conservative line of treatment using analgesic combination resolved PDPH in 64.5% of patients while ACTH had a 90.9% of efficacy when administered 24–48 h after the onset of PDPH.

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