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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > CSF Leak
      Category : Health Centers > Brain and Nervous System

CSF Leak

Alternate Names : Cerebrospinal Fluid Fistula

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Cerebrospinal fluid, also known as CSF, leak is an abnormal drainage of cerebrospinal fluid from the subarachnoid space in the brain. The fluid may leak out into the body, but more often it is seen leaking through the ears, nose, or an open wound.

What is going on in the body?

CSF is formed within the inner spaces of the brain called ventricles. The fluid travels through the ventricles and exits the brain beneath the cerebellum, which is at the base of the head. It then travels down the spine, around the spinal cord and nerves, and back up to the head. The final step is passing over the top of the brain where it is absorbed. The fluid is held between the arachnoid and dura membranes. These membranes enclose the brain and spinal cord. Leakage occurs when the arachnoid membrane is ruptured.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

A CSF leak is caused by a rupture of the arachnoid membrane. This usually results from trauma, although it can occur spontaneously. Tissue destruction caused by tumors could lead to a CSF leak.


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CSF Leak: Symptoms & Signs

Author: James Warson, MD
Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 10/16/02

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