An Arizona woman for months had a constantly running nose, which doctors told her initially was allergies. But although the issue was a sinus-related problem, it turns out the steady drip wasn’t nasal mucus at all — it was cerebral spinal fluid from her brain.
“I was scared to death and desperate,’’ said Aundrea Aragon, according to a press release from the University of Arizona. “I knew it could not be allergies. The fluid would come out like a puddle.’’
“I was walking around with toilet paper shoved up my nose and changing it every 10 minutes,’’ she continued.
According to the university, which had a team of doctors who treated Aragon, the patient had two cracks in her sphenoid sinus, which were allowing the fluid to make its way out of her nose. Such cracks can be caused by cerebral pressure and recovery after repair of the damage is difficult. Fortunately, the surgeons instead were able to repair the cracks through the nose with no incisions on the head, which resulted in a shorter recovery period.
Dr. Alexander Chiu, chief of the Division of Otolaryngology at the university, said that 95 to 99 percent of cases like this performed endoscopically are successful, compared to 60 percent performed through a craniotomy.
As for the risk of leaking brain fluid, the press release stated that the body will naturally continue to make more, but the potential for infection is what could have had harmful side effects.
“You are constantly making brain fluid,” Chiu said, according to ABC News. “It can be fatal when there is a connection between the cleanest part of the body, the brain, and the dirtiest part, the nose.”
“If you are leaking brain fluid out your nose then you have the potential for catastrophic meningitis, the kind where bacteria crawls into your brain and 24 hours later you are essentially in a coma or dead,’’ said Dr. G. Michael Lemole, chief of the Division of Neurosurgery, according to the release. “That is what we worry about in these cases.”
ABC News reported Chiu saying such leaks occur in 1 in 100,000 or 1 in 200,000 patients. He called it a “freak thing.”
Aragon said she is grateful to the staff and happy she is still here to take care of her children.
Read more about Argon’s case on the university’s website here.
(H/T: Fox News)