Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak (CSF Leak)
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear fluid present in and around the spinal cord and brain. It is produced by a region of the brain called the choroid plexus. Normally, about 150 mL of CSF circulates within the brain in cavities called ventricles.
Cerebrospinal fluid functions to:
Sometimes, this fluid abnormally accumulates creating pressure on the brain and leading to brain damage, a condition known as hydrocephalus.
A cerebrospinal fluid examination is helpful in diagnosing a number of diseases such as meningitis, encephalitis and the presence of hemorrhage. In order to obtain a sample of CSF, your doctor performs a procedure known as a spinal tap, where a needle is inserted in your lower spine, and the sample of CNS is removed and examined. Abnormal findings include a cloudy appearance, high protein levels, reduced glucose levels, and the presence of blood or organisms.