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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Efficacy of the epidural blood patch for the treatment of post lumbar puncture headache BLOPP: A randomised, observer-blind, controlled clinical trial [ISRCTN 71598245]

R Oedit1, F van Kooten1*, SLM Bakker2 and DWJ Dippel1

Author Affiliations

1 Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2 Amphia General Hospital, Breda/Oosterhout, The Netherlands

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BMC Neurology 2005, 5:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-5-12

Published: 5 July 2005

Abstract

Background

Post dural punction headache (PDPH) occurs in 10% to 40% of the patients who had a lumbar puncture. Its symptoms can be severe and incapacitating. The epidural blood patch is widely accepted as the treatment of choice for postdural puncture headache. Uncontrolled studies report rapid recovery after patching in 90% to 100% of treated patients. However, sufficient evidence from randomised, controlled clinical trials is lacking.

Methods

BLOPP (blood patch for post dural puncture headache) is a randomised, single centre, observer-blind clinical trial. Patients with PDPH for at least 24 hours and at most 7 days after lumbar puncture will be randomised to treatment with an epidural blood patch (EDBP) or to conventional treatment, i.e. 24 hours bed rest and ample fluid intake. PDPH 24 hours after treatment, classified on a 4-point scale (no, mild, moderate, severe) is the primary outcome. The secondary outcome is the presence of PDPH 7 days after treatment. We estimated that a sample size of 2 × 20 patients would provide us with a power of 80% to detect a relative reduction in number of patients with persisting PDPH after 24 hours of 50% at the usual significance level α = 5%, taking into account that in approximately 10% of the patients the PDPH will have resolved spontaneously after one day.

Discussion

The EDBP is accepted as the treatment of choice for PDPH although randomised, controlled data is scarce. Our randomised, observer-blind clinical trial enables us to compare the efficacy of two clinically practiced methods of PDPH treatment; EDBP versus conventional treatment, as they are applied in clinical practise.