Tag Archives: accidental dural puncture

Pneumocephalus Following an Accidental Dural Puncture, Treated Using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0017

Introduction: Neuraxial techniques, including epidural anaesthesia, are often used for perioperative pain control and are generally safe. However, both transient, mild and even severe, life-threatening neurologic complications can occur.
Case presentation: A seventy-eight-year-old man was admitted to the hospital for a radical nephrectomy plus transurethral resection due to kidney and bladder cancer. During the epidural exploration, an accidental dural puncture was noted. This was followed by the patient complaining of an intense headache. The epidural catheter was placed in a different location, and surgery was performed uneventfully. The patient presented with confusion, agitation, vertical nystagmus, vision loss, and paraparesis about two hours later. The epidural levobupivacaine and morphine infusion were stopped, followed by motor block resolution. A computerized head-tomography scan showed extra-axial multiple air spots involving the frontal and temporal lobes. Emergent hyperbaric oxygen therapy was commenced. After a single session, there was complete resolution of all symptoms and a marked reduction in the number and volume of the extra-axial air visible on the CT scan.
Conclusions: Although rare, pneumocephalus is a well-recognized complication of a dural puncture. Its rapid recognition in a patient with new-onset neurological symptoms and early treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows rapid clinical and imaging resolution and an improved prognosis.

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