Efficacy of a prophylactic epidural blood patch in preventing post dural puncture headache in parturients after inadvertent dural puncture

Barbara M. Scavone*, Cynthia A. Wong, John T. Sullivan, Edward Yaghmour, Saadia S. Sherwani, Robert J. McCarthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Background: Postdural puncture headache (PDPH) occurs in up to 80% of parturients who experience inadvertent dural puncture during epidural catheter placement. The authors performed a randomized double blind study to assess the effect of prophylactic epidural blood patch on the incidence of PDPH and the need for therapeutic epidural blood patch. Methods: Sixty-four parturients who incurred inadvertent dural puncture were randomized to receive a prophylactic epidural blood patch with 20 ml autologous blood (prophylactic epidural blood patch group) or a sham patch (sham group). Subjects were evaluated daily for development of PDPH for a minimum of 5 days after dural puncture. Those who developed a PDPH were followed daily for a minimum of 3 days after resolution of the headache. Subjects with moderate headaches who reported difficulties performing childcare activities and all those with severe headaches were advised to receive a therapeutic epidural blood patch. Results: Eighteen of 32 subjects in each group (56%) developed PDPH. Therapeutic blood patch was recommended in similar numbers of patients in each group. The groups had similar onset time of PDPH, median peak pain scores, and number of days spent unable to perform childcare activities as a result of postural headache. The median duration of PDPH, however, was shorter in the prophylactic epidural blood patch group. Conclusions: A decrease in the incidence of PDPH or the need for criteria-directed therapeutic epidural patch was not detected when a prophylactic epidural blood patch was administered to parturients after inadvertent dural puncture. However, prophylactic epidural blood patch did shorten the duration of PDPH symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1422-1427
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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