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Subdural hygroma accompanied by parenchymal and subarachnoid haemorrhage after epidural analgesia in an obstetric patient




Anaesthetists need to know the different causes of persistent headache or a change in level of consciousness following epidural analgesia for labour. Failure to recognise these neurological complications can lead to delayed diagnoses, with subsequent serious implications.


We present a patient who was re-admitted for postural headache resulting from an unrecognised dural puncture during an epidural for pain relief while in labour. During the interview, the patient confirmed drug use (cocaine), so she was evaluated by a psychiatrist with possible post-partum psychosis or drug withdrawal syndrome. Afterwards, the patient deteriorated neurologically, showing impaired consciousness and seizures.


The cranial computed tomography showed bilateral frontoparietal subdural collections with intraparenchymal and subarachnoid haemorrhaging. She improved by burr hole drainage of subdural hygroma and a blood patch.


Neurological signs should alert the clinician to the possibility of subdural collection and other possible complications such as sinking of the brain in order not to delay the request for imaging tests for diagnoses and effective treatments.