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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 197--201

Is acetazolamide really useful in the management of traumatic cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea?

Department of Neurosurgery, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Sunil K Gupta
Department of Neurosurgery, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.156280

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Background: Traumatic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea is a serious and potentially fatal condition as it may lead to meningitis. As acetazolamide decreases CSF production and hence CSF pressure, it has been proposed that the medication may help in curing CSF rhinorrhea. There is no definitive evidence, however, that acetazolamide is actually beneficial in treating traumatic CSF rhinorrhea. The aim of this study was to determine if the administration of acetazolamide in patients of head trauma with CSF rhinorrhea was beneficial in decreasing the duration of CSF rhinorrhea. The acid-base and electrolyte changes caused by the drug were also studied. Materials and Methods : We conducted a single center randomized prospective study. Forty-four patients of head trauma with CSF rhinorrhea were divided into two groups, the experimental group (21 patients) was given acetazolamide; and, the control group (23 patients) did not receive the medication. The median duration of CSF leak in days, and the electrolyte changes observed on administration of the medication were recorded in both the groups. Results : Both the experimental and control groups were well matched in terms of age, sex, mechanism of injury, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and the type of skull fracture. The median duration of CSF leak in the control group was of 4 days and in the study group, of 5 days. Acetazolamide caused significant metabolic acidosis and hypokalemia (as shown by decreased serum pH, serum bicarbonate and serum potassium levels) in the experimental group when compared to the control group. Conclusions : Acetazolamide did not influence the resolution of traumatic CSF rhinorrhea and instead lead to significant metabolic and electrolyte disturbances.


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Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow