Anesthesia Epidural Blood Patch
An epidural blood patch is used to relieve a headache caused by a spinal anesthetic, lumbar
puncture (spinal tap), or a myelogram. Sometimes after these treatments, spinal fluid can leak,
decreasing the pressure of the spinal fluid. This low pressure can cause a headache. A low-
pressure headache can cause severe pain with standing or sitting, but often gets better when lying
flat. If your doctor believes you have a low-pressure headache, he or she may suggest an
epidural blood patch.
An epidural blood patch places your own blood in the spinal space close to the same site where
your treatment was done. This blood forms a clot or “patch” over the area that is leaking.
What will be done during the blood patch?
1. You will be brought into a prep room where you will change into a gown and have an IV
2. The anesthesia doctor will explain the treatment to you and answer any questions you
3. Before the treatment, let the staff know if you take any medicines to thin your blood.
Tell the staff the last time you had anything to eat or drink.
4. You may be given drugs through your IV to help relax you.
5. You will be asked to sit up or lay on your side for this. Next, the anesthesia doctor will
clean off your back with germ-free soap.
6. A medicine is used to numb your skin where the needle will go. This may sting, but after
that you should not feel much at all.
7. The needle is then placed into your back where the other treatment was done.
8. A small amount of blood is drawn from your arm. It is injected right away through the
epidural needle into your back. You may feel some minor pain or pressure in your back
while it is being injected.
9. After resting for 1 hour, you will be sent home.
What should I do at home?
1. You may not drive for 24 hours.
2. Take it easy the rest of the day. Avoid any heavy lifting or intense activity for 24 hours.
3. Watch for signs of infection
fever greater than 100.4° F by mouth
increased redness or swelling around the blood patch site
severe stiff neck
problems thinking clearly
How to I contact the doctor?
Call the paging operator at (608) 262-0486. Ask for the doctor on call for the Anesthesia Acute
Pain Service. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you
back. If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942. If you had the procedure completed at
The American Center, ask for the TAC Anesthesiologist on-call. We wish you a quick recovery.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 9/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#7017.