Repeated Dural Punctures Increase the Incidence of Postdural Puncture Headache

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Previous studies have failed to find a significant correlation between the number of dural punctures and the incidence of postdural puncture headache (PDPH), questioning the hypothesis that leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the dural tear is the cause of PDPH.We hypothesized that insufficient statistical power of these studies was the cause for this unexpected finding, and reexamined whether repeated dural punctures increase the incidence of PDPH by analyzing prospectively collected data on 8034 spinal anesthetics. Uneventful spinal anesthetics, including a single subarachnoid injection of local anesthetics, occurred in 7865 (97.9%) cases, whereas failed spinal anesthetics requiring repeated dural puncture for a second subarachnoid injection of local anesthetics occurred in 165 (2.1%) cases. The two groups were similar with regard to age, sex, and ASA physical status. We found that repeated dural punctures significantly increased the incidence of PDPH. We conclude that increased risk of PDPH is a disadvantage of performing a second subarachnoid injection of local anesthetics after a failed spinal anesthetic. Moreover, this result suggests that leakage of CSF through the dural tear is the most plausible cause of PDPH.(Anesth Analg 1996;82:302-5)

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