Impact of Obesity on Lumbar Puncture Outcomes in Adults with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Lymphoma: Experience at an Academic Reference Center

  • José Carlos Jaime-Pérez
  • Guillermo Sotomayor-Duque
  • Patrizia Aguilar-Calderón
  • Lorena Salazar-Cavazos
  • David Gómez-Almaguer
Keywords: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; CNS relapse; Lumbar puncture; Obesity; Traumatic lumbar puncture


Background: Lumbar puncture (LP) is a hematology procedure that can require repeated attempts leading to traumatic LP (TLP), which has been related to the central nervous system (CNS) relapse. LP success can depend on the size and anatomy of the patient and the skill of the hematologist. The main objective was to determine the influence of body mass index (BMI) on LP outcomes.

Materials and Methods: Adults with lymphoid malignancies requiring LP were included prospectively over one year; hematology residents performed most procedures. A 22-gauge Quincke needle was employed. Comparison between non-traumatic vs. traumatic LPs according to BMI, CNS relapse, and residents’ year was performed.

Results: Fifty-four patients with a mean age of 31.5±15.57 years were included. Diagnosis was Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia-B (74%), Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia-T (13%) and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (13%). 227 LPs were performed, 121 (53.3%) successful, 98 (43.2%) traumatic, 11 (11.2%) TLPs were macroscopically detectable and 87 (88%) microscopic; 8 (3.5%) were dry-taps. Median time between punctures was 11 days (1-202). Median BMI was 25 (22.8-39.6). Main indication for LP was prophylactic (74.5%); 39.2% were performed by first-year, 35.2% by second-year, 19.6% by third-year hematology residents. No difference (p = 0.145) for a TLP was found among residents. A BMI ≥30 (p = 0.040), non-palpable intervertebral space (p = 0.001) and more than one attempt (p = 0.001) were significant for TLP. TLP was not associated with CNS relapse (p = 0.962).

Conclusion: Obesity predicted a TLP. A traumatic puncture did not increase the risk of CNS relapse at one-year follow-up.