A CSF leak can be difficult to locate in patients who present with spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). The purpose of this case series was to describe the authors’ experience with intrathecal preservative-free normal saline challenge coupled with contrast-enhanced MR myelography (CEMRM), which was used to provoke and detect a CSF leakage site in patients with SIH.
The authors performed a retrospective review of the records of patients who underwent preservative-free normal saline challenge followed by intrathecal gadolinium (Gd) contrast infusion and MR myelography from 2010 to 2012.
The records survey identified 5 patients who underwent 6 procedures. Intrathecal preservative-free normal saline challenge followed by CEMRM identified a CSF leak during 5 of the 6 procedures. Previous CT myelograms were available from 4 patients, which did not reveal a leakage site. A CT myelogram of 1 patient showed a single leak, but the authors’ saline challenge-CEMRM technique identified multiple additional leakage sites. Three patients exhibited transient postprocedural symptoms related to the saline infusion, but no long-term or permanent adverse effects related to the procedure were observed.
Instillation of preservative-free normal saline into the thecal sac followed by intrathecal Gd infusion is a safe technique that may increase the detection of a CSF leak on MR myelography images in patients with SIH.