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How to use… lumbar puncture in children
  1. Peter Schulga1,
  2. Rosemary Grattan1,
  3. Craig Napier2,
  4. Mohamed O E Babiker3
  1. 1Fraser of Allander Neurosciences Unit, Royal Hospital of Sick Children, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Hospital of Sick Children, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3Department of Paediatric Neurology, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mohamed O E Babiker, Department of Paediatric Neurology, 6th Floor, Education and Research Centre, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol BS2 8AE, UK; mohamedbabiker{at}


Lumbar puncture (LP) is a useful diagnostic tool in a wide spectrum of paediatric clinical situations. A common indication is to rule out a serious intracranial infection in a febrile child. Success rate can be optimised by proper positioning, appropriate technique and enhanced operator's skill in performing the procedure. The purpose of this review is to explore the indications and contraindications for performing paediatric LP, to describe the anatomical and physiological knowledge required to maximise success rates and to describe complications and their management. We will also provide advice on requesting various cerebrospinal fluid studies, interpretation of results and clinical situations in which LP may be indicated.

  • General Paediatrics
  • Procedures
  • Neurology
  • lumbar puncture
  • cerebrospinal fluid

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