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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 15, 2016 02:16 PM
From: Senator John P. Blake
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolution: Spinal CSF Leak Awareness Week
 
I will soon introduce a resolution designating the week of February 26 to March 4, 2017 as “Spinal CSF Leak Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania. Spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, also known as intracranial hypotension, is an important, disabling, under-diagnosed but treatable cause of new onset headache. To understand the impact on someone afflicted by this disorder, it is important to understand the physical cause and effects. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) bathes and supports the brain and spinal cord and when the connective tissue known as dura that holds CSF in around the spinal cord has a hole or tear, the result is a loss of CSF volume, and thus, pressure. The most common and disabling symptom is a positional headache that is worse when upright and improved when lying down. Spinal CSF leaks may cause a wide range of other symptoms and serious, long-term complications, including stroke, dementia, Parkinsonism, coma and even death.

The causes of spinal CSF leaks include those that arise from trauma or medical procedures, as well as those that occur spontaneously, and the diagnosis is often missed or delayed due to low awareness by health care providers, contributing to additional suffering. Confirming a diagnosis is difficult as leaks often elude diagnostic imaging, impacting treatment options and outcomes. Current treatment options are limited to epidural patching procedures and a range of neurosurgical procedures, although the incidence and prevalence of this disorder has been challenging to study due to under-diagnosis. Therefore, it will be with greater awareness and understanding among the public and medical community that we stand a chance to combat this elusive, debilitating disorder. Therefore, I ask for your co-sponsorship of this resolution.



Introduced as SR13