Headaches, nausea and misdiagnoses: A patient’s experience with a CSF leak

By Roxanne Ohayon: For Entire Post, Go Here…

Rachel Hale’s adolescent years were supposed to be spent hanging out with friends, playing the sports she loved, and blasting music from her favorite bands. Instead, she found herself unable to enjoy many of her favorite things due to constant headaches, nausea, dehydration, and sensory overload sensations that frequently kept her away from family, friends, and social activities.

That changed, however, when Hale, now in her mid-20s, came to Stanford to be treated by gastroenterologist Linda Nguyen, MD, as a Stanford Medicine news article explains. Her case caught the attention of Ian Carroll, MD, a headache specialist, who realized that Hale’s case was characteristic of a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak.

A CSF leak occurs when the covering that protects the brain and spinal cord and holds the fluid in place tears, allowing the fluid that protects those organs to escape. The diagnosis is often overlooked, Carroll said. In fact, his own daughter had a CSF leak that escaped detection.

To help, Hale received an epidural blood patch, where the patient’s own blood is injected to stop the leak. Soon after, Hale said she felt a major difference in her health.

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