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Supplementary Material for: A Possible Newly Defined and Treatable Secondary Cause of Early Morning Wake-Up Headaches in an Older Hypermobile Woman: Nutcracker Physiology with Spinal Epidural Venous Congestion

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posted on 2024-02-07, 12:34 authored by Rozen T.D., Devcic Z., Toskich B.B., Fairweather D., Bruno K.A.
Introduction Left renal vein compression (nutcracker physiology) with secondary spinal epidural venous congestion is a newly recognized cause of daily persistent headache. Presently only women with underlying symptomatic hypermobility issues appear to develop headache from this anatomic issue. The hypothesized etiology is an abnormal reset of the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure to an elevated state. Headaches that occur during sleep can have a varied differential diagnosis, one of which is elevated CSF pressure. We present the case of an older woman who began to develop severe wake-up headaches at midnight. She was found to have left renal vein compression and spinal epidural venous congestion on imaging. After treatment with lumbar vein coil embolization, which alleviated the spinal cord venous congestion, her headaches alleviated. Case Presentation A 61-year-old woman with a history of hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, began to be awakened with severe head pain at midnight at least several times per week. The headache was a holocranial, pressure sensation, which worsened in the supine position. The headaches were mostly eliminated with acetazolamide. Because of her hypermobility issues and pressure-like headache she was investigated for underlying nutcracker physiology and spinal epidural venous congestion. This was confirmed using magnetic resonance (MR) angiography and conventional venography, and after lumbar vein coil embolization her wake-up headaches ceased. Conclusion The case report suggests a possible new underlying and treatable cause for early morning, wake-up, headaches: nutcracker physiology with secondary spinal epidural venous congestion. The case expands on the clinical headache presentation of nutcracker physiology.

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