BackgroundIdiopathic intracranial hypertension can lead to dural defects and spontaneous leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the skull base. Skull base CSF leaks are rarely reported in pregnancy but pose unique challenges for obstetricians and anesthesiologists.
Case presentationA 31-year-old G4P1021 at 14 weeks developed debilitating headaches and CSF rhinorrhea. Brain imaging revealed a bony defect of the sphenoid sinus with a meningoencephalocele and a partially empty sella, consistent with CSF leakage from a skull base defect. The patient was neurologically stable without signs of meningitis; thus, management was focused on symptomatic alleviation. A planned cesarean section was performed at 38 weeks under spinal anesthesia. The patient had spontaneous marked improvement of her symptoms postpartum.
ConclusionPregnancy may exacerbate skull base CSF leaks, requiring careful management with a multidisciplinary team. Neuraxial anesthesia can safely be performed in pregnant individuals with spontaneous skull base CSF leakage, but further studies are needed to determine the safest mode of delivery in these patients.