Female patient with a myleographically proved spinal CSF leak (not shown). Upper row, MR imaging performed before spinal surgery demonstrates typical findings of intracranial hypotension—SIH score = 8: pachymeningeal enhancement (2 points), engorgement of venous sinus (2 points), effacement of the suprasellar cistern (≤4.0 mm, 2 points), no subdural fluid collection (0 points), effacement of the prepontine cistern (≤5.0 mm, 1 point), and mamillopontine distance (≤6.5 mm, 1 point). Lower row, MR imaging performed after surgery demonstrates almost complete resolution of all findings: SIH score 2, due to residual dural enhancement. Note also the decrease in pituitary size (arrow).


CSF loss in spontaneous intracranial hypotension disrupts a well-regulated equilibrium. We aimed to evaluate the volume shift between intracranial compartments in patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension before and after surgical closure of the underlying spinal dural breach.


In total, 19 patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension with a proved spinal CSF leak investigated at our institution between July 2014 and March 2017 (mean age, 41.8 years; 13 women) were included. Brain MR imaging–based volumetry at baseline and after surgery was performed with FreeSurfer. In addition, the spontaneous intracranial hypotension score, ranging from 0 to 9, with 0 indicating very low and 9 very high probability of spinal CSF loss, was calculated.


Total mean ventricular CSF volume significantly increased from baseline (15.3 mL) to posttreatment MR imaging (18.0 mL), resulting in a mean absolute and relative difference, +2.7 mL and +18.8% (95% CI, +1.2 to +3.9 mL; P < .001). The change was apparent in the early follow-up (mean, 4 days). No significant change in mean total brain volume was observed (1136.9 versus 1133.1 mL, P = .58). The mean spontaneous intracranial hypotension score decreased from 6.9  ± 1.5 at baseline to 2.9 ± 1.5 postoperatively.


Our study demonstrated a substantial increase in ventricular CSF volume in the early follow-up after surgical closure of the underlying spinal dural breach and may provide a causal link between spinal CSF loss and spontaneous intracranial hypotension. The concomitant decrease in the spontaneous intracranial hypotension score postoperatively implies the restoration of an equilibrium within the CSF compartment.

Read this article: https://bit.ly/3oqGWdO


Jeffrey Ross

• Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

Dr. Jeffrey S. Ross is a Professor of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and practices neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. His publications include over 100 peer-reviewed articles, nearly 60 non-refereed articles, 33 book chapters, and 10 books. He was an AJNR Senior Editor from 2006-2015, is a member of the editorial board for 3 other journals, and a manuscript reviewer for 10 journals. He became Editor-in-Chief of the AJNR in July 2015. He received the Gold Medal Award from the ASSR in 2013.

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