Background and objectives In two patients, one scheduled for epidural anesthesia and the other for placement of a spinal catheter for operative procedures, severe postdural puncture headache developed and was refractory to conservative therapy.
Methods The first patient had several unintentional dural punctures, and the second underwent a planned dural puncture with an 18-gauge needle for insertion of a 20-gauge catheter. When neither patient responded to conservative therapy following development of postdural puncture headache, an infusion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) was given prior to consideration of epidural blood patching.
Results Both patients obtained complete and permanent relief from their headaches.
Conclusion A single treatment with ACTH may offer an alternative therapy in the treatment of postdural puncture headache.
- adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
- postdural puncture headache
- epidural analgesia
- spinal anesthesia
- low-pressure spinal headache
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Awarded first prize in the resident research competition case report category at the Western Pennsylvania Society of Anesthesia annual meeting, May 16, 1996.