What is the role of lumbar puncture in the workup of pediatric headache?

Updated: Jan 02, 2019
  • Author: J Ivan Lopez, MD, FAAN, FAHS; Chief Editor: George I Jallo, MD  more...
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Answer

A lumbar puncture may reveal elevated opening pressure, leukocytosis, elevated protein level, and low glucose level. For example, in patients with meningitis, a lumbar puncture may show an elevated opening pressure, white blood cells (WBCs), low glucose level, high protein level, and bacteria on Gram stain.

Lumbar puncture is the most sensitive test in the diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage, demonstrating hemorrhagic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that does not clear during the collection of the first and last tubes. Opening pressure may also be elevated.


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