When some people have something as simple as a cough, they run to the computer and diagnose themselves with the most severe thing that the Internet has to offer - much to the chagrin of their doctors. However, Aundrea Aragon's story may make such individuals feel vindicated. Aragon was told by a series of doctors that her runny nose was just allergies, but she actually was leaking brain fluid from her nose.
For four months, Aragon's nose leaked like a faucet every time she bent her head. She says that she would walk around the house with paper towels shoved up her nose, changing them every 10 minutes. The mother of three children aged 9 to 16, one of whom is autistic, takes her health very seriously.
Though she was convinced that something serious was wrong, her trips to the doctor only left her with a diagnosis of allergies. She was so busy that she did not really question the diagnosis and, having suffered from fibromyalgia, was used to living in pain.
One doctor briefly mentioned the possibility of a cerebrospinal fluid leak but, because the condition is rare, dismissed the idea immediately. He prescribed her a nasal spray.
Aragon said to ABC News that she would wake up choking on the liquid. She thought that she had pneumonia.
When the nasal spray was unsuccessful at curing her problem, she went to an area urgent care center. It was a nurse who first suspected that something serious was afoot, noticing the large volume of liquid on the floor after Aragon gave a urine sample.
When the doctor asked her if she could give a small sample of the liquid for testing, she recounts that she said, "I could fill that tube up 20 times over."
The test examined the liquid sample for a protein that indicates that it is cerebrospinal fluid. The tests were positive.
A CT scan also showed two lines in her sinuses.
The surgery to repair the damage took tissue from inside her nose and stomach fat to patch over the holes.
Aragon is still amazed at her brush with death. Doctors said that she could have developed meningitis, slipped into a coma and died.
The risk of death comes not from the loss of brain fluid, which the brain is constantly producing, but from infection.
"It can be fatal when there is a connection between the cleanest part of the body, the brain, and the dirtiest part, the nose," Dr. Alexander Chiu, the chief of otalyrngology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said.
Aragon's condition was extremely rare, only affecting 1 in 100,000 to 200,000 patients.
Most often, it occurs in overweight patients, whose high cranial pressure could cause sinuses to crack open.
However, Aragon's case was a freak occurrence.
Doctors will continue to monitor her every few months, but they do not expect for her sinuses to crack again.
Published by Medicaldaily.com