Spontaneous Spinal Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks: A Review

, Cedars-Sinai Neurosurgical Institute, Los Angeles, and Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, Irvine, California

Neurosurg Focus. 2000;9(1) 

In This Article

Epidemiological Characteristics

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is an increasingly diagnosed cause of headaches, and more than half of documented cases have been reported during the last decade.[4,8,15,21,29,30,36,38,40,49,54,62,63,68,70,81,84] In the past, spontaneous intracranial hypotension was probably underdiagnosed, and it is not likely that there has been an actual increase in its incidence, although that possibility cannot be excluded. Comprehensive epidemiological studies have not been reported, but the prevalence of spontaneous intracranial hypotension in Olmsted County, MN, in 1995 was estimated at approximately one in 50,000 individuals.[71] Spontaneous intracranial hypotension affects women more frequently than men, and the onset of symptoms typically occurs in the fourth or fifth decade of life.[4,8,16,22,30,37,39,41,50,55,63,64,69,71,72,82,85]