Factors Influencing Successful Lumbar Puncture in Alzheimer Research

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Lumbar puncture (LP) is increasingly common in Alzheimer disease research; however, agreement to undergo LP varies. We sought to determine factors influencing LP consent at Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADCs) in the United States.


A 3-part survey was distributed to each ADC: (1) ADC LP Experience; (2) LP Requestor Experience; and (3) Patient LP Experience (both Initial and Follow-up). In all, 64 LP Requestor, 579 Patient/Initial, and 404 Patient/Follow-up surveys were collected. Logistic regression analyses with generalized estimating equations were used to assess factors associated with LP agreement and post-LP complications.


Asians and those viewing LP negatively were less likely to agree to LP. Three hundred fifty-two participants had an LP; LP headache occurred in 11.9% (blood patch required in 1.4%) and 9.9% reported other complications. Younger individuals, women, those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, use of a Quincke needle, ≤20 mL cerebrospinal fluid drawn, and hemorrhage during LP were associated with LP headache. Use of gravity flow during LP was associated with fewer other complications (nausea, dizziness, vasovagal response, back pain, neck stiffness, and/or nerve root pain).


LP in Alzheimer disease research is generally safe and well tolerated. Factors influencing LP agreement potentially could be studied to advance participant acceptance of the procedure.

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