Safety of lumbar puncture procedure in an international research setting during acute HIV infection

Author List
Philip Chan
Joanna Hellmuth
Donn Colby
Eugene Kroon
Carlo Sacdalan
James Fletcher
Payal Patel
Suteera Pinyakorn
Victor Valcour
Jintanat Ananworanich
Serena Spudich


Background: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sampling at the time of acute HIV infection (AHI) is crucial in understanding NeuroAIDS pathogenesis. Here, we report on the safety of performing a lumbar puncture (LP) during untreated AHI and follow-up after initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Methods: We reviewed clinical records of participants who took part in an AHI protocol in Bangkok, Thailand, including untreated AHI subjects (baseline), and longitudinal visits following immediate initiation of cART to assess rates and risk of post-lumbar puncture headaches (PLPH). A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume of 10–20 mL was collected using standard cutting-edge or atraumatic needles. Results: From April 2009 to February 2016, 195 LPs were performed, of which 89 (46%) were at baseline. The LP procedures at baseline were not associated with an additional PLPH risk as compared to repeat LPs after cART initiation (26/89 [29%] vs 4/27 [15%], respectively; P=0.134). Higher body mass index (BMI) at baseline (P=0.070) and use of an atraumatic needle (P=0.058) had trend-level associations with reduced PLPH. A higher CSF volume collection (20 mL) was independently associated with a lower PLPH frequency (P=0.024). This association was similar in a subgroup analysis with the use of atraumatic needles. The CD4+ T lymphocyte count, blood and CSF HIV viral load, Fiebig staging, and the presence of an acute retroviral syndrome did not correlate with risk for PLPH (all P>0.05). Conclusion: The frequency of PLPH during AHI was similar to that seen in the setting of cART-treated HIV infection and not higher with a larger CSF volume collection. Our study adds to the existing evidence that atraumatic needles should be used to minimise the risk of PLPH.

Article Category

HIV Treatment

Article Type

Original research

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