Epidural Blood Patch

An epidural blood patch is performed to relieve a headache caused by a dural puncture that has not responded with bedrest, increased fluid intake and analgesics. Complications are rare, but can include dural puncture with headache, temporary back pain or no relief of headache. You will require a ride home.

When you arrive, a nurse will get a description of your pain and how you are managing daily activities. Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and weight will be taken. Medications, allergies and a brief health history will be reviewed. It is important to let the nurse know if you have allergies to X-ray dye, Betadine or latex, if you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa or Lovenox or if you might be pregnant.

After discussing treatment with your physician and signing a consent form, an IV will be placed into your arm. We will try to make you as comfortable as possible. During the procedure, your skin will be cleaned with antiseptic and after numbing the skin on your back, the physician will place a small needle into the epidural space. Blood will be taken from the IV and given to the physician to inject into the epidural space “patching” the cerebral spinal fluid leak. You may feel some momentary pressure as the blood is injected but the entire procedure will take only a few minutes.

You should plan to stay with us for a couple hours after your procedure while you are given IV fluids and caffeinated beverages to drink. A nurse will monitor your response to the treatment and is available to answer any questions.

When you go home

  • Activities: Bedrest is recommended for the first 24 hours, but you may get up for meals and to use the bathroom. For the next 48 to 72 hours, avoid quick or sudden movements, lifting more than 10 pounds, sneezing or coughing or any strenuous activity that might dislodge the blood patch.
  • Pain: Ice will help with discomfort at the injection site.
  • Diet: Drink plenty of liquids and resume your normal diet.
  • Follow-up: Please call the Pain Management Clinic to report your response to the treatment. Report any increase in your discomfort, fever, leg weakness or loss of control of bowel/bladder function.

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