Acute onset headache complicating labor epidural caused by intrapartum pneumocephalus

Loren Smarkusky, Helena DeCarvalho, Ady Bermudez, Víctor Hugo González-Quintero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Epidural placement for obstetric anesthesia is a common procedure. Pneumocephalus, the introduction of air into the cranial cavity after epidural placement, is a rare complication encountered when air is used for identification of the epidural space. CASE: A 42-year-old primipara undergoing epidural placement reported sudden onset of severe headache with associated neurologic symptoms and nuchal rigidity. Emergent CT scan revealed pneumocephalus. With conservative management, her symptoms resolved with interval resumption of the air collection evidenced on interval CT. CONCLUSION: Acute onset headache after epidural placement can present with impressive neurologic signs and symptoms. Prompt identification of the cause of this pathology is of vital importance to delineate pneumocephalus from potentially treatable or life-threatening disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-798
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3 II
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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