Factors associated with traumatic fluoroscopy-guided lumbar punctures: A retrospective review

S. D. Yu, M. Y. Chen, Annette Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To minimize diagnostic confusion, a CSF specimen should be free from traumatically introduced red blood cells (RBCs). The purpose of this research is to determine if patient age, sex, gauge of the lumbar puncture (LP) needle, or the level of LP is associated with an increased risk for traumatic fluoroscopy-guided LP MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were collected retrospectively for consecutive male and female patients of all ages (n = 756) who underwent a fluoroscopy-guided LP for a 2-year period. We defined traumatic LP as a CSF sample with an RBC count more than 500 cells/mm3 without xanthochromia RESULTS: Rate of traumatic LP was 13.3%. The rate of traumatic LP at the L4-L5 level (19%) was significantly higher than at the L2-L3 (9%) or L3-L4 level (10%). Patients older than 80 years had higher traumatic LP rates (25.9%) compared with patients between ages 11 and 80 years (12.4%). Sex and gauge of the spinal needle were not associated with increased rate of traumatic LP. Patients younger than 1 year had failed LP rate of 58.8% compared with 3.2% failure rate in older patients CONCLUSIONS: Fluoroscopy-guided LP at the L4-L5 level is associated with nearly twice the risk for traumatic puncture compared with the L2-L3 or L3-L4 level. Rates of traumatic result are twice as high in adults older than 80 years compared with younger patients. Failure rates for fluoroscopy-guided LP are low except in children younger than 1 year, in whom failure occurs in most cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-515
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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