Severe Postpartum Headache and Hypertension Caused by Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome: A Case Report

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Abstract

Reversible cerebrovascular vasoconstriction syndrome is an uncommon condition that presents as severe headache and hypertension. Recent literature suggests a 1% incidence in postpartum headache cases. It can cause subarachnoid hemorrhages, cerebral ischemia, and seizures. It is often misdiagnosed as postdural puncture headache or preeclampsia. In this case, a postpartum woman, who had received epidural anesthesia for labor, presented 5 days postpartum with severe headache that did not resolve with an epidural blood patch. She then became more hypertensive and suffered a grand mal seizure. When treatment for eclampsia failed to resolve her symptoms, magnetic resonance angiography was performed. It demonstrated the pathognomic signs of reversible cerebrovascular vasoconstriction syndrome. Her symptoms resolved with nimodipine.

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