Runny Nose or Brain Fluid Leakage?

June 1, 2018  Source: Ddu 156

Kendra Jackson from Nebraska had constantly been complaining of a runny nose. The initial diagnosis was allergies but later, a much more alarming and strange diagnosis was made.

Her medical history reported that she had been in a car accident in 2013, during which her she had hit her face on the dashboard. Several years later, she was constantly struggling with a runny nose, severe headaches and trouble sleeping. Regarding the runny nose, Jackson described, "It was like a waterfall, continuously, and then it would run to the back of my throat."

Later, Jackson consulted an ENT specialist at Nebraska Medicine where she came to know that it was actually the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage from her brain. The brain secretes around 503 mL of CSF a day. But she was losing around 237 milliliters per day on an average.

CSF is a clear fluid which cushions the brain and spinal cord and clears waste from the brain. If it leaks into the nostrils or throat, one could sense a metallic taste. CSF rhinorrhea can cause severe complication named bacterial meningitis where the lining of the brain and spinal cord gets inflamed.

The famous rhinologist Dr. Christie Barnes and neurosurgeon Dr. Dan Surdell from Nebraska Medicine, identified the source of CSF leakage to be a very small hole between her skull and nostrils most likely due to the accident. Jackson went in for surgery where the leak was plugged using her own fatty tissue, allowing her to make a full recovery.

By Ddu
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