Post-dural puncture headache incidence after cerebrospinal fluid aspiration. A prospective observational study

Abstract Background: Post-dural puncture headache (PDPH) is an iatrogenic condition following lumbar puncture (LP). Incidence is variable and often associated with young females. Technical features of the procedure (i.e. needle gauge) have been investigated; however there is no investigation on the method of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collection. Objective: To investigate whether mild CSF aspiration is associated with increased PDPH in selected patients. Methods: 336 subjects were eligible to the study. Data on 237 patients from a tertiary neurology hospital who underwent diagnostic LP from February 2010 to December 2012 were analysed. Patient demographics, lumbar puncture method, CSF biochemical characteristics, opening pressures, and a follow-up inquire on PDPH occurrence were collected. CSF was collected either by allowing free flow or by mild aspiration. Results: The aspiration arm (n=163) was comprised of 55.8% females with mean age of 52(35‒69) years. Sex distribution was not different between the two arms (p=0.191). A significant larger amount of CSF was obtained in the aspiration arm (p=0.011). The incidence of PDPH in the aspiration arm was 16.5% versus 20.2% in the free flow arm, not statistically significant (p=0.489). No relevant associations emerged from the analyses in the subgroup aged <65 years. Conclusions: Aspiration of the CSF during LP was not associated with increased rates of PDPH compared to the standard method, particularly when larger amounts of CSF are required and ideal conditions are met. This is the first study looking into this matter, aiming to add safety to the procedure. Further randomized trials are required.