UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Neurology

Title: The Headache Formerly Known as Pseudotumor Cerebri (Submitted by Ryan Spangler)

Keywords: idiopathic intracranial hypertension, papilledema, intracranial pressure, cranial nerve palsy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/8/2020 by WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD
Click here to contact WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD

Takeaways

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a vision-threatening illness with significant morbidity and needs to be considered as a possible headache diagnosis in the ED. Most often, this occurs in women of childbearing age with a BMI >30, but atypical varieties exist.

Symptoms: Headache (90%), visual disturbance, pulsatile tinnitus, horizotal diplopia.

Signs: Papilledema, 6th cranial nerve (abducens) palsy.

Evaluation: Neuroimaging including CTV or MRV to identify alternate cause including cerebral venous outflow obstruction, lumbar puncture with opening pressure >30 cmH2O (25-30 cmH2O is gray zone), blood work per clinical presentation, CSF analysis.

Treatment: No clear consensus, but typically acetazolamide. Severe or refractory symptoms may require surgical intervention such as optic nerve sheath fenestration, VP shunt, venous sinus stenting.

In-Depth

References

Hoffmann J, Mollan SP, Paemeleire K, et al. European Headache Federation guideline on idiopathic intracranial hypertension. J Headache Pain. 2018;19(1):93.

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