Queckenstedt's phenomenon

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Test to determine whether or not the flow of cerebrospinal fluid is blocked in the spinal canal.

Description

Test to determine whether or not the flow of cerebrospinal fluid is blocked in the spinal canal. The test is performed by putting bilateral pressure on the jugular veins - vv. jugulares internae - during the course of a lumbar puncture. Normally there is a sharp rise increase in the pressure of the spinal fluid in the lumbar region within 10 to 12 seconds, and then a sharp fall when the pressure is released.
If there is no rise in the pressure of liquor cerebrospinalis, it is a sign of blocking of the subarachnoid channels.

Queckenstedt’s phenomenon was described by the British surgeon and anatomist John Hilton (1804-1878) in 1863 on the basis of investigation of a corpse.

Bibliography

  • John Hilton:
    On the influence of mechanical and physiological rest in the treatment of accidents and surgical diseases, and the diagnostic value of pain.
    London, Bell and Daldy, 1863. 99 pages.
  • H. Queckenstedt:
    Zur Diagnose der Rückenmarkskompression.
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für Nervenheilkunde, 1916, 55: 325-333.
    [Diagnosis of compression of the spinal cord]

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