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Detection of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks Using the Endoscopic Fluorescein Test in the Postoperative Period following Pituitary and Ventral Skull Base Surgery
Objective Diagnosis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks is sometimes challenging in the postoperative period following pituitary and ventral skull base surgery. Intrathecal fluorescein (ITF) may be useful in this setting.
Design Retrospective chart review.
Setting Tertiary care center.
Methods and Participants All patients who underwent pituitary and ventral skull base surgery performed by a single rhinologist between January 2017 and March 2020 were included. There were 103 patients identified. Eighteen patients received 20 ITF injections due to clinical suspicion for CSF leak during the postoperative period without florid CSF rhinorrhea on clinical exam. Computed tomography scans with new or increasing intracranial air and intraoperative findings were used to confirm CSF leaks. Clinical courses were reviewed for at least 6 months after initial concern for leak as the final determinate of CSF leak.
Main Outcome Measures Specificity and safety of ITF.
Results Eleven (61%) ITF patients were female and 7 (39%) were male. Average patient age was 52.50 ± 11.89. There were six patients with confirmed postoperative CSF leaks, 3 of whom had evaluations with ITF. ITF use resulted in 2 true positives, 1 false negative, 17 true negatives, and 0 false positives. ITF sensitivity was 67%, specificity was 100%, and positive and negative predictive values were 100 and 94.4%, respectively. There were no adverse effects from ITF use.
Conclusions Existing modalities for detecting postoperative CSF leaks suffer from suboptimal sensitivity and specificity, delayed result reporting, or limited availability. ITF represents a specific and safe test with potential utility in the postoperative setting.
Abstract was presented as a Virtual Poster, September 12th 2020, American Rhinologic Society (Originally in Boston, MA).
Received: 09 June 2021
Accepted: 13 December 2021
Accepted Manuscript online:
16 December 2021
Article published online:
18 January 2022
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