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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Cerebrospinal fluid leak


Other Names for this Disease
  • CSF leak
  • CSF rhinorrhea
  • CSF otorrhea
  • Spinal CSF leak
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Overview

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) otorrhea is the leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) though the ear. It is a rare but very serious condition that requires rapid intervention. Symptoms include leak of clear fluid through the ear, inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain (meningitis), hearing loss, and seizures. The cause of a spinal fluid leak through the ear is a defect of the bone and meningeal layers covering the brain that separate the subarachnoid space of the brain from the middle ear and mastoid bone (located just behind the ear). The leaks occur after a surgery in the base of the skull, temporal bone fractures, congenital defects of the inner ear, trauma, or they may be spontaneous. Treatment depends on the cause and may include antibiotics, compression dressing and surgery.[1][2] 
Last updated: 12/30/2015

References

  1. Hanson MB. CSF Otorrhea.. Medscape Reference. October 3, 2014; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/883160-overview. Accessed 12/30/2015.
  2. Kou YF, Zhu VF, Kutz JW Jr, Mitchell RB & Isaacson B. Transcanal Endoscopic Management of Cerebrospinal Fluid Otorrhea Secondary to Congenital Inner Ear Malformations. Otol Neurotol. January, 2016.; 37(1):62-65. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26571412. Accessed 12/30/2015.
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In Depth Information

  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Cerebrospinal fluid leak. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • CSF leak
  • CSF rhinorrhea
  • CSF otorrhea
  • Spinal CSF leak
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.