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Queckenstedt's phenomenon

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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.


  • 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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