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Spinal taps carry higher risks for infants and elderly, study shows
Date:3/18/2009

nts ages 1 to 80. Johnson said clinicians in those cases should attempt to insert the needle in the middle of the lower back, where the study found risk of bleeding is less likely. Clinicians should also double check to make sure these elderly patients are not taking medications that thin the blood and increase the chance of bleeding, she added.

Regardless of age, punctures in the lower part of the low-back were twice as likely to result in bleeding as were those in the middle low-back.

"We were somewhat surprised that needle size was not related to rate of bleeding caused by the needle," Johnson said. "This result may be related to the fact that only two sizes of needles were commonly used in our study and both were small. However, we did find that the risk of bleeding was higher as you went lower in the spine.

"Lumbar punctures will very likely continue to be a common medical procedure," Johnson added. "The findings of this study should help ordering physicians decide how best to order this test and should help radiologist physicians choose at which levels to perform the procedure."


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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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