Post-dural puncture posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome

Fauzia N Minai, Aga Khan University
Syeda Fauzia Hasan, Aga Khan University
Mughis Sheerani


We report the case of a young patient with 36 weeks pregnancy, and an acute respiratory infection with severe bronchospasm, who developed an occipital headache and neck pain on the third day of inadvertent dural puncture during placement of combined epidural spinal anaesthesia for caesarian section. It was diagnosed as post-dural puncture headache until generalised tonic clonic siezures occurred the next day raising the suspicion of postpartum eclampsia or meningitis. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome was diagnosed on MRI of the brain which showed features of reversible ischemia in the posterior region of the brain. With anticonvulsant therapy and antibiotics there was complete resolution of neurological symptoms. We highlight the importance of high index of suspicion of this reversible encephalopathy in obstetric cases with intentional or inadvertent dural puncture, with headache similar to post-dural punctural headache, and the essential role of neuroradiology in confirmation of the diagnosis, as placement of an epidural blood patch would be highly detrimental in these cases.