How to know if you have csf leak?

In addition to these symptoms, other symptoms unique to cranial CSF leaks include:

  • Clear, watery drainage usually from only one side of the nose or one ear when tilting the head forward
  • Salty or metallic taste in mouth
  • Drainage down back of throat
  • Loss of smell

How serious is a CSF leak? The answer to this question is, Yes. Sometimes, it may be serious for CSF to leak. This is because when spinal fluid leak occurs, the barrier between the brain and the nasal cavity breaks. This makes the brain more vulnerable to infections through bacteria and viruses which may invade the nasal cavity by way of nose.

How to get a diagnosis of CSF leak? A doctor can use a number of tests to diagnose a CSF leak. One test involves placing a sample of what the doctor suspects to be CSF discharge on a piece of filter paper . Once in contact with the paper, any CSF will separate from any blood or mucus. The result will form two distinct rings, called a “target” or “double ring” sign.

Does a CSF leak heal itself? In many cases, a CSF leak will heal on its own accord following conservative treatment, including strict bed rest, increased fluid intake and caffeine. Conservative treatment and the tincture of time is not always enough, however.

How long does a CSF leak take to heal? The repair site can take four to six weeks to heal completely. During that time, the patient’s activity will be restricted to avoid straining, heavy lifting (no greater than 10 pounds), and nose blowing. CSF Patient Information Sheet Learn more about CSF leaks (PDF).