Tags: nose | leaking | brain | fluid

Nose Leaking Brain Fluid Finally Diagnosed: It's not an Allergy

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 08:30 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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An Arizona man who thought he just had really bad allergies was shocked to find out that it was really brain fluid leaking from his chronic runny nose.

It started one morning years ago when Joe Nagy of Phoenix sat up in bed.

"Brooop! This clear liquid dribbled out of my nose like tears out of your eyes," he told MyFOXPhoenix.com. "I go what is this?"

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Thinking his runny nose was a symptom of bad allergies, Nagy began taking medication, but the problem just got worse. It became more and more frequent and soon his nose was leaking all the time. It also began interfering in other areas beyond his health. Nagy remembers one time he was picking up blue prints for model airplanes and he couldn't get to a tissue in time.

"It was about a teaspoon full. Splashed all over the top sheet. I said, 'these damn allergies.' I was embarrassed as hell."

Nagy finally went to a specialist who tested the fluid coming from his nose. The doctor concluded that the leakage was brain fluid.

"I was scared to death if you want to know the truth," Nagy said.

Scans showed that Nagy had a small puncture hole in the membrane surrounding his brain. The brain produces up to 12 ounces of brain fluid a day, and that's what was constantly pouring out of Nagy's nose.

"You don't really think about it, but our brains are really just above our noses all of the time," Barrow Neurological Institute neurosurgeon Peter Nakaji told MyFOXPhoenix.

Nagy finally underwent surgery to fix the leak.

"Nowadays we do quite a bit of surgery on the brain and base of brain through the nose," Nakaji said. "We never have to cut up into the brain. We're getting a needle up into the space to check it out, and then to put a little bit of glue. This is just a bit of cartilage from the nose that we can get to repair over it and then the body will seal it up."

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Nagy was skeptical that the surgery could cure his problem, but when doctors finally removed the gauze from his nose, he was amazed.

"I was waiting for the dribble," he said. "This leaking cause I was so used to it every day. I got my hankie. Nothing. It's never come back."

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