Cranial Nerve Six Palsy After Vaginal Delivery with Epidural Anesthesia: A Case Report


South Atlantic


Grand Strand Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



diplopia, strabismus, vaginal delivery, epidural anesthesia


Emergency Medicine | Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications | Medicine and Health Sciences


Background: This case report describes a 34-year-old woman who developed diplopia and strabismus 2 weeks after a vaginal delivery and epidural anesthesia. Case Report: A 34-year-old women presented to the emergency department (ED) with continued headache and new-onset diplopia after having undergone epidural anesthesia for a vaginal delivery 2 weeks prior. During that time, she underwent two blood patches, rested supine, drank additional fluids, and consumed caffeinated products for her spinal headache. When she developed double vision from a cranial nerve VI palsy, she returned to the ED. At that time, she had a third blood patch performed, and she was evaluated by a neurologist. The medical team felt the cranial nerve VI palsy was due to the downward pull of the brain and stretching of the nerve. Magnetic resonance imaging and neurosurgical closure of the dura were considered as the next steps in treatment; however, they were not performed after being declined by the patient. All symptoms were resolved over the next 3 weeks. Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This? This case illustrates the uncommon complication of a cranial nerve VI palsy from a persistent cerebrospinal fluid leak after a dural puncture. Emergency physicians must be aware that diplopia can be a rare presenting symptom after patients undergo a lumbar puncture. Furthermore, emergency physicians should be aware of the multiple treatment options available. Knowledge of the timeline of resolution of the diplopia is necessary to make shared decisions with our patients about escalating care.

Publisher or Conference

The Journal of Emergency Medicine