December 7, 2012

Arizona Woman Saved From Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak

Imagine feeling pain in the chest, while liquid drips continuously from your nose. No, it’s not allergies–it’s something more serious. A patient in Arizona recently underwent surgery for symptoms that were thought to be allergies, but turned out to be a rare condition called cerebrospinal fluid leak.

According to ABC News, the clear liquid dripped from Aundrea Aragon’s nose for over four months and doctors at first thought it was due to allergies.

“It wasn’t even dripping, it was pouring out of my nose,” explained Aragon, a mother in Tucson, Arizona, in the ABC News article. “If I looked down or bent over, it would literally pore out of the left side of my nose. I had no control at all.”

Later on, doctors discovered that it was cerebrospinal fluid leaking from the back of her sphenoid sinus that was related to cerebral pressure. The leak was due to sphenoid sinus, a rare condition that can be life-threatening. It can be caused by various incidents, such as pressure from a car accident, head trauma, or even heavy weight that results in cranial pressure.

“In her case, it was more of a freak thing,” noted Dr. Alexander Chiu, the chief of the otolaryngology division at the University of Arizona Medical Center, in the article by ABC News.

Aragon was referred to Dr. Chiu and Dr. G. Michael Leomle from a community otolaryngologist. The two performed the two-hour minimally invasive operation. They utilized an endoscope method by patching up two sinus cracks. Operating through the nose, they then entered the sinus and grafted skin where it was leaking. According to the Daily Mail, the operation has a 95 to 99 percent success rate.

“We retract the brain and pull it backward, taking out the frontal lobes and lift them out of the way and patch up the belly of the brain,” Chiu told ABC News.

“Now, we go right through the nose — like going under the car to fix the carburetor.”

Medical experts believe that the difficulty with sphenoid sinus is the possible infection that can occur. According to Fox News, due to the cerebrospinal fluid leak, Aragon could have developed meningitis. The illness would increase the risk of bacteria seeping through her brain, resulting in either coma or death.

“You are constantly making brain fluid,” continue Chiu in the ABC News story. “It can be fatal when there is a connection between the cleanest part of the body, the brain, and the dirtiest part, the nose.”

Following the operation, Aragon will be monitored throughout the year.

“She’s not leaking anymore, but we have to make sure she doesn’t spring a new leak,” noted Chiu in the piece by ABC News.

Aragon is currently at home, recovering from the surgery with her children and husband at her side.

“I am so grateful to them for everything they have done for us,’’ said Aragon. “I had great care from a great staff,” remarked Aragon in a prepared statement. “I’m here, and I am grateful I can take care of my kids.”

Image Credit: Photos.com

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