Feasibility of lumbar puncture in the study of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease: A multicenter study in Spain

Daniel Alcolea, Pablo Martínez-Lage, Andrea Izagirre, Montserrat Clerigué, María Carmona-Iragui, Rosa María Alvarez, Juan Fortea, Mircea Balasa, Estrella Morenas-Rodríguez, Albert Lladó, Oriol Grau, Kaj Blennow, Alberto Lleó, José L. Molinuevo

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Lumbar puncture (LP) is increasingly performed in memory units due to the usefulness of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The feasibility of this procedure in this context, however, is controversial. Objective: Our aim was to analyze the incidence of complications and their associated factors so as to determine the impact of LP in the study of CSF biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. Methods: In the context of a larger international initiative, we prospectively collected data from 689 participants who underwent LP in three memory units in Spain. Data included demographic factors, headache history, subjective attitude toward the procedure, patient positioning, needle characteristics, volume of CSF extracted, attempts needed, and resting time after CSF acquisition. Five to seven days after the procedure, we asked participants about complications through a semi-structured telephone interview. Results: No adverse events were reported in 441 (64.0%) participants. The most frequent complication was headache, reported by 171 (24.8%) subjects. It was severe in only 17 (2.5%). Headache was more frequent in younger participants and when a cutting-edge needle was used. Back pain was present in 111 (16.1%) cases, and it was associated with female gender, cutting-edge needles, increased number of attempts, and longer resting time after LP. No major complications were reported. The use of pen-point needles showed a trend toward a higher frequency of hematic CSF. Conclusion: LP can be safely performed to study CSF biomarkers. The main complication is headache, associated with younger age and use of cutting-edge needles. © 2014-IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-726
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • biomarkers
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • dementia
  • lumbar puncture
  • post-lumbar puncture headache


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