Intracranial hypertension

Conjunctival oedema as a potential objective sign of intracranial hypertension: a short illustrated review and three case reports

Authors: Toalster N, Jeffree RL.

Periorbital and conjunctival oedema has been reported anecdotally by patients with raised intracranial pressure states. We present three clinical cases of this phenomenon and discuss the current evidence for pathways by which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drains in relation to conjunctival oedema. We reviewed the available literature using PubMed, in regards to conjunctival oedema as it relates to intracranial hypertension, and present the clinical history, radiology and orbital photographs of three cases we have observed. Only one previous publication has linked raised intracranial pressure (ICP) to conjuctival oedema. The weight of evidence supports the observation that the majority of CSF drains along the cranial nerves as opposed to via the arachnoid projections. Conjunctival oedema may be a clinical manifestation of CSF draining via the optic nerve in elevated ICP states.

Hypothesis for intracranial hypertension in slit ventricle syndrome: New concept of capillary absorption laziness in the hydrocephalic patients with long-term shunts

Authors: Jang M, Yoon SH.

Many theories have been postulated to date regarding mechanisms involved in intracranial hypertension in patients with long-term, shunt-induced slit ventricle syndrome (SVS), but it still seems difficult to define this entity more clearly. Many hypotheses have attempted to explain the causes of SVS as chronic or intermittent catheter obstruction, brain compliance change, and ventricular herniation and distortion, but this theory does not explain clearly the reason why extraventricular pressure (EVP) is increased and intraventricular pressure (IVP) is low or frequently negative. The authors attempt to postulate a hypothesis by addressing new concept of capillary absorption laziness which results in dissociation of EVP with IVP. We, the authors, propose a concept of 'capillary absorption laziness', which is a tendency of the brain parenchymal extracellular fluid (ECF) not to be absorbed through the brain parenchymal capillary absorption system (BPCAS) that results from the bypass of ECF to shunt in the low or even negative ECF pressure and IVP. If this continues for a prolonged period, the tendency not to be absorbed through the BPCAS, even when the IVP and extracellular fluid pressures increases more than the intracranial pressure (ICP), may be established. This leads to situations of the brain such as parenchymal accumulation of the ECF which results in brain edema or swelling, and eventually distortion or herniation which can act as a functional obstruction and consequent dissociation between the IVP and EVP. Hypothesis of capillary absorption laziness may explain several common phenomena of the SVS such as low or even negative IVP in coexistence with high EVP and high ICP, and in these cases, we expect serious complications of SVS such as brain distortion and herniation. From this hypothesis we attempt to find new shunt management protocols to prevent long-term shunt induced complications.

Effective treatment of refractory intracranial hypertension after traumatic brain injury with repeated boluses of 14.6% hypertonic saline

Authors: Eskandari R, Filtz MR, Davis GE, Hoesch RE.

Object Normal intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) have been identified as favorable prognostic factors in the outcome of patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Osmotic diuretics and hypertonic saline (HTS) are commonly used to treat elevated ICP in patients with TBI; however, sustained effects of repeated high-concentration HTS boluses for severely refractory ICP elevation have not been studied. The authors' goal in this study was to determine whether repeated 14.6% HTS boluses were efficacious in treating severely refractory intracranial hypertension in patients with TBI. Methods In a prospective cohort study in a neurocritical care unit, adult TBI patients with sustained ICP > 30 mm Hg for more than 30 minutes after exhaustive medical and/or surgical therapy received repeated 15-minute boluses of 14.6% HTS over 12 hours through central venous access. Results Response to treatment was evaluated in 11 patients. Within 5 minutes of bolus administration, mean ICP decreased from 40 to 33 mm Hg (30% reduction, p < 0.05). Intracranial pressure-lowering effects were sustained for 12 hours (41% reduction, p < 0.05) with multiple boluses (mean number of boluses 7 ± 5.5). The mean CPP increased 22% and 32% from baseline at 15 and 30 minutes, respectively (p < 0.05). The mean serum sodium level (SNa) at baseline was 155 ± 7.1 mEq/L, and after multiple boluses of 14.6% HTS, SNa at 12 hours was 154 ± 7.1 mEq/L. The mean heart rate, systolic blood pressure, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine demonstrated no significant change throughout the study. Conclusions The subset of TBI patients with intracranial hypertension that is completely refractory to all other medical therapies can be treated effectively and safely with repeated boluses of 14.6% HTS rather than a one-time dose.

Intracranial hypertension: An unusual presentation of mucormycosis in a kidney transplant recipient

Authors: Jha R, Gude D, Chennamsetty S, Kotari H.

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), once called pseudotumor cerebri, presents with nonspecific signs and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure and papilledema, and is associated with high risk of loss of vision. Zygomycosis is a rare but serious fungal infection seen occasionally among renal transplant recipients in the late transplant period with high mortality risk. Early diagnosis coupled with multidisciplinary care can salvage the patient from the risk of death. We present an unusual case of adult renal transplant recipient with IIH followed by rhinocerebral zygomycosis secondary to amplified immunosuppression that was managed successfully.

Primary stabbing headache: a new dural sinus stenosis-associated primary headache?

Authors: Montella S, Ranieri A, Marchese M, De Simone R.

Primary stabbing headache (PSH) is a primary syndrome of unknown aetiology, characterised by brief, jabbing stabs predominantly felt in the orbital, temporal and parietal areas, whose frequency may vary from one to many per day, usually responding to indomethacin. PSH frequency in the general population is not well defined, but recent evidence suggests it could be more frequent than previously thought. In clinical series, PSH incidence was 33/100,000 per year, while in a population study 35.2 % prevalence was found. PSH was previously described as isolated or associated to other headache syndromes, most frequently with migraine. There is evidence that an idiopathic intracranial hypertension without papilledema, a condition usually associated to significant stenosis of dural sinuses (93 % sensitivity and specificity), is much more prevalent than believed and may run asymptomatically in up to 11 % of otherwise healthy individuals. In migrainous prone people, a sinus stenosis-associated intracranial hypertension without papilledema (ss-IHWOP) comorbidity may represent a powerful risk factor for progression of pain. Besides migraine, significant sinus stenosis has been found overrepresented also in chronic tension type headache as well as in exertional, cough, sexual activity-associated headaches (all indomethacin responsive primary headaches) and in altitude headache (an acetazolamide responsive condition). To explore the possible association between venous outflow disturbances and PSH, we retrospectively investigated the co-occurrence of sinus venous stenosis in patients referring to our headache centre since 2004 diagnosed with PSH who completed the diagnostic protocol. Out of 50 consecutive patients reporting PSH as the main or as accessory complaint, 8 (6 females, 2 males) performed MR venography (MRV). All MRV revealed significant unilateral or bilateral sinus stenosis. Mean age at PSH onset was 35.3 ± 18.9 years (range 11-67 years). Duration of attacks ranged 1-3 s. Median daily frequency of attacks was 4 (range 2-20); median number of days per month with PSH presentation was 14 (range 4-30). Six patients described attacks in temporal or parietal areas, one at the top of the head, and one in the occipital area. Only one patient had isolated PSH; all the others were diagnosed also with migraine without aura. Seven out of eight patients responded to indomethacin 75 mg/die, and one to topiramate 100 mg/die. Interestingly, both drugs share with acetazolamide a CSF pressure lowering effect. Our findings indicate that PSH is associated with central sinus stenosis and suggest that an undiagnosed ss-IHWOP might be involved in PSH pathogenesis.

Headache prevalence and clinical features in patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH)

Authors: D Amico D, Curone M, Ciasca P, Cammarata G, Melzi L, Bussone G, Bianchi Marzoli S.

Headache is a key symptom of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Operational diagnostic criteria for "Headache attributed to IIH" are included in the international classification of headache disorders, the ICHD-2. The association of IIH with obesity was established by several reports. We investigate the prevalence of headache and its main clinical features in a clinical sample of IIH patients. The possible correlations between the presence of headache and body mass index (BMI) and intracranial pressure (ICP) levels were studied in a consecutive clinical series of patients, in whom diagnosis of IIH was confirmed by exclusion of secondary forms and by the evidence of increased ICP. Differences for age, BMI, and ICP between patients with and without headache and between males and females were assessed with Mann-Whitney U test. Spearman's correlation analysis was used to assess relationships between age, BMI, and ICP. P value < 0.05 was used to set statistical significance. 40 patients entered the study (9 males, 31 females; mean age 39, 8 years, SD 13.2). Headache was reported by 75 % patients. Those characteristics which are included in the present international diagnostic criteria for "Headache attributed to IIH" were reported by a remarkable proportion of the studied patients, but not by all. On the other hand, some headache features usually attributed to migraine forms, and which are not among the required criteria were present in some patients: pulsating quality and unilateral distribution of pain in around 20 %, and migrainous associated symptoms in more than 40 % of the sample. According to statistical analyses, no differences were found for age, BMI, and ICP between patients with and without headache. Our results confirmed the strong association between headache and IIH. Although no significant correlations between some of the key features of IIH were found in this study, we suggest that further studies on larger series-possibly with a longitudinal evaluation-are needed, to help clinicians in categorizing different subgroups among IIH patients as well as in identifying the main factors influencing the prognosis of this disorder.


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