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Otogenic tension pneumocephalus caused by therapeutic lumbar CSF drainage for post-traumatic hydrocephalus: A case report

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July 1, 2007
by Edwin K. Chan, MD; Lawrence Z. Meiteles, MD
Tension pneumocephalus occurs when a continuous flow of air accumulates in the intracranial cavity and produces a mass effect on the brain. We describe a case in which tension pneumocephalus was caused by the performance of continuous lumbar CSF drainage in a middle-aged man who had experienced a temporal bone fracture. Continuous lumbar CSF drainage is commonly performed in patients with temporal bone or basilar skull fractures to treat concomitant post-traumatic CSF rhinorrhea, CSF otorrhea, and/or hydrocephalus. However, to the best of our knowledge, there has been no previously reported case of tension pneumocephalus occurring as a complication of this procedure in a patient with a temporal bone fracture.

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