Physicians at Mayo Rochester have reported on a small series of 8 patients with refractory headache after epidural blood patch. They were then treated with a combination of blood and fibrin glue for epidural patching. Four of eight patients had improved pain scores at 3 months post procedure.
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Efficacy of epidural blood patch with fibrin glue additive in refractory headache due to intracranial hypotension: preliminary report.
Elwood J, Dewan M, Smith J, Mokri B, Mauck W, Eldrige J.
Springerplus. 2016 Mar 11;5:317. doi: 10.1186/s40064-016-1975-1. eCollection 2016.
Injection of fibrin glue mixed with blood into the epidural space to reliably and effectively treat medically refractory orthostatic headache caused by spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks and subsequent intracranial hypotension has recently been described. The study described in this article utilizes an analogous technique to gauge the therapeutic reproducibility of this novel technique.
Eight patients with medically refractory headache resulting from intracranial hypotension caused by spinal CSF leaks received epidural injections of combined fibrin glue, autologous blood, and Isovue contrast at the L1-2 vertebral level using intermittent fluoroscopic guidance. Pre-procedure, 1-week post-procedure, and 3-month post-procedure headache pain scores were collected and used for comparison.
Three out of 8 patients reported relief at 1 week, although 1 of these 3 patients had returned to their baseline pain intensity at 3 months. Four patients reported no change at 1 week, though 2 of these patients had reduction of their chronic headache pain at 3 months. A single patient reported increased pain 1 week after the procedure, which persisted at 12 weeks. Overall, 4 out of the 8 patients had decreased pain scores at 3-month follow-up.
We did not achieve a similar frequency of headache resolution as reported in prior original studies. However, a subset of patients did appear to receive substantial benefit from the combined fibrin glue-blood patching procedure. This technique may prove to be useful in medically refractory cases, including those patients who continue to have symptoms despite the prior administration of conventional epidural blood patches.