Epidural Blood Patch

Treatment Information

What is an epidural blood patch?

An epidural blood patch is the injection of the patient's own blood into the epidural space where the spinal leak is occurring.


Why would an epidural blood patch be performed?

An epidural blood patch is performed when a patient is suffering with a spinal headache. A spinal headache can occur following a myelogram, epidural or spinal anesthesia or back surgery. This headache is different in that it improves when lying down and worsens when sitting or standing.


Why would an epidural patch NOT be performed?

An epidural blood patch will NOT be performed if you have an active infection, fever, meningitis and/or pregnancy.


What are the preparations for the procedure?

Before the procedure, you are asked NOT to eat four (4) hours prior and NOT to drink liquids two (2) hours prior to your procedure time. You must have someone of age to drive you home following your procedure. Anyone who is taking a blood thinning medication such as coumadin will be required to stop that medication for a specified time period before the procedure. Otherwise, you may take your regularly prescribed medications the morning of your procedure with a sip of water. If you are a diabetic patient, you may eat a limited amount before your procedure to avoid hypoglycemia.


What will occur during the procedure?

After the procedure and complications have been explained by the physician or physician assistant, an informed consent paper, (giving permission for the procedure), must be signed by the patient. An IV will be placed in the patient's arm and you will receive a dose of IV antibiotics. Then you will be taken to the procedure room and placed on the x-ray table lying on the stomach. The area to be injected will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution, which is usually betadine unless you are allergic to this. Blood will be drawn from your arm by the nursing staff. Then under x-ray guidance, the physician will inject this same blood into the area where the spinal leak is occurring to create a patch.


How long is the procedure?

Usually, the epidural blood patch last between 10-15 minutes.


What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure is completed, the patient is taken to our recovery area. There, you will be monitored closely by checking the blood pressure and heart rate. You will rest 20-30 minutes after the procedure. You should begin to notice an improvement in your headache after the procedure. When ready, you will be given discharge instructions and any follow-up information that is needed. It is important to drink plenty of fluids (caffeinated beverages are a good idea) and get plenty of rest over the next few days.


Special Notes

If you suspect that you are might be pregnant or know you are pregnant, please notify the physician or any staff member, as this is a reason NOT to do the epidural blood patch. After the procedure, you should resume your regular medications as you are prescribed if those medications were stopped before the procedure.


* If you do not understand any part of the above material, please discuss it with your physician or physician assistant. *


Related Information

Other Treatments


Related Documents

Discharge Instructions

Patient Pain Diary


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