Diagnostic lumbar puncture. Comparative study between 22–gauge pencil point and sharp bevel needle
© Springer-Verlag Italia 2005
Received: 24 May 2005
Accepted: 13 June 2005
Published: 1 August 2005
Post–lumbar puncture headache is a frequent clinical problem. Needle design is expected to reduce post–puncture headache. In this study, we compared two different lumbar puncture needle designs in diagnostic lumbar puncture and analysed post–dural puncture headache (PDPH) and social and economical harm associated with the diagnostic lumbar puncture procedure. This prospective, controlled study consisted of 80 consecutive adult patients requiring elective diagnostic lumbar puncture due to various neurological symptoms. Lumbar puncture was completed either with Spinocan® 22 G sharp bevel needle or Whitacre® 22G pencil point needle. Patients were asked about previous headache symptoms and pain provoked by puncture. One week after the lumbar puncture all patients were interviewed by telephone and occurrence and type of headache, headache intensity, medication and frequency of impairment in activities of daily living were asked. Need for epidural blood patch was also recorded. Thirty–three of 78 (42%) patients experienced headache after diagnostic lumbar puncture and in 26 (33%) the headache could be classified as PDPH. There were no statistically significant differences between needle types in the frequency of common headache, PDPH, puncture pain intensity, need for epidural blood patch or sick leave. Also, there were no other complications except local back pain or headache. In this study, the needle design did not affect the frequency of PDPH. Also, PDPH was common, occurring in 33% cases and caused a considerable amount of disturbance in daily activities. Seeking help for this condition was insufficient and only part of these PDPH patients were treated with epidural blood patch.