Leaking brain fluid could cause runny nose - AmericaNowNews.com

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Leaking brain fluid could cause runny nose

If you're constantly carrying tissues in your pockets because of a runny nose, and allergy medications don't seem to help, you may have a rare, but not entirely uncommon, condition called Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea (CFR).

Often, a runny nose is just a case of seasonal allergies, but sometimes it's because your brain fluid is leaking out of your nostril.

Dr. Jonathan Moss is an Otolaryngologist at Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Charlotte.

He specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the head and neck, especially those involving the ears, nose, and throat

Dr. Moss remembers a patient who said she had drainage from one side of her nose, and that it got worse every time she leaned over.

After six months of taking allergy medications, Dr. Mosses' patient still had clear liquid oozing out of her nose.

"Almost like you turn on a water spigot," Moss described. "She can lean forward, and it's like you turn on the nozzle and it runs out."

Using a small camera, he took a look inside her nose and discovered the source of the leak.

"There was a piece of brain, probably the size of the tip of my index finger, hanging down into her nose," Moss said.

This section of brain had fallen down into a hole, or herniation, in her sinus membrane.

These defects in the tissue are usually caused by a head injury, surgery complications, or high skull pressure.

The woman was diagnosed with CFR, a condition which is an endless problem since the brain produces about 17 ounces of fluid daily. If CRF is untreated, it can be deadly.

"There's a lot of bacteria in the nose, so now there is brain that's covered in bacteria, it's not useful for the brain anymore, you don't want to push that back up into the brain and [because it could] lead to other problems like meningitis or a brain abscess," Moss said.  

Fortunately, there is a fix for CFR.

Dr. Moss removed the exposed portion of brain, plugged the hole with cadaver bone, covered it with a skin lining, and applied a tissue glue.

He says the surgery has a very high success rate. For most patients, the procedure completely turns off the brain fluid faucet.

Dr. Moss says two symptoms of the condition is constant drainage on one side of the nose and headaches. If this sounds familiar, he recommends you immediately schedule an appointment with an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in your area.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

Additional Information:
Dr. Jonathan Moss is an Otolaryngology doctor with Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates <www.ceenta.com>. 

  • Dr. Moss used a sample of his patient's nasal fluid to test for a specific protein found only in the fluid that bathes the brain. Her test was positive which aided in her diagnosis.
  • A bone graft from a cadaver, a mucosal lining, and a tissue glue were used to fix the defect.

The following information if from Yahoo.com in an article entitled "Your Runny Nose Could Be Leaking Brain Fluid" (Source: <http://news.yahoo.com/runny-nose-could-leaking-brain-fluid-164229313.html>).

  • Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea (CFS) is not all that uncommon, but is still a rare medical condition.
  • The condition is caused by a small tear or hole in the membrane surrounding the brain, resulting from head injury, complications from surgery or high pressure in the skull (intracranial pressure).
  • The brain produces roughly 17 ounces of cerebrospinal fluid each day so the condition can become an endless problem.
  • It's easy to ignore CFS, but if untreated, the fluid can become infected with life-threatening meningitis. 

The following information is from Medscape.com (Source: <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/861126-overview>).

  • CSF is a mixture of water electrolytes (Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Cl-, and HCO3-), glucose, amino acids, and various proteins.
  • CSF is primarily produced in the choroid plexus.
  • CSF is produced at a rate of about 20mL/h or about 500 mL per day, with approx. 90-150mL circulating throughout the CNS.
  • CSF is rare, but can lead to death.
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