Clinical Neuroscience

How to minimize the risk for headache? A lumbar puncture practice questionnaire study

JONATAN Salzer, RAJDA Cecilia, SUNDSTRÖM Peter, MATTIAS Vågberg, VÉCSEI László, ANDERS Svenningsson

NOVEMBER 30, 2016

Clinical Neuroscience - 2016;69(11-12)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18071/isz.69.0397

Background - To lower the risk for post lumbar puncture (LP) headache the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recommended using small bore atraumatic needles together with stylet reinsertion in a report from 2005. It is unclear whether these recommendations are followed or not. Objectives - To investigate the diagnostic LP preferences with respect to the AAN guidelines among neurologists by use of a short online questionnaire, and to review previously published literature on the subject. Results - A total of 284 respondents who performed diagnostic LPs completed the questionnaire. Almost half (41%) answered that they always use atraumatic needles. The most common reason (73%) for not using atraumatic needles was that these were not available. Less than half of the respondents who performed LPs had knowledge about the AAN guidelines for diagnostic LPs, and 48-76% agreed with the different recommendations therein. Five previously (1998-2015) published studies investigating LP practice among neurologists were identified. The reported frequency of atraumatic needle use (always/routinely) varied between 2 and 16%. Discussion - Atraumatic needle use was more common in this study compared with previous publications. There is still skepticism regarding some of the AAN recommendations, and needle availability appears to be the most important factor preventing atraumatic needle use. To increase the use of atraumatic needles we may perform additional studies investigating their potential benefits, and arrange training sessions for neurologists to increase their awareness and level of comfort with the atraumatic LP technique.

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