Benign Intracranial Hypertension

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Also known as

  • "Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension"' and
  • "Pseudotumour cerebri"

Benign intracranial hypertension is an idiopathic syndrome which is commonest in young obese women.

  • Steroid therapy and other drugs have been suggested as a possible cause.


Clinical Features

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Marked bilateral papilloedema
  • False localising signs, eg. Cranial nerve VI palsy
  • CSF
    • Elevated pressure
    • normal cell count and protein content
  • Imaging: normal (including normal ventricular size)


  • Non-fatal
  • Infarction of optic nerve (severe longstanding papilloedema)


It is important to exclude other causes of papilloedema.

Sagittal Vein Thrombosis can produce a similar clinical picture

  • Weight loss
  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Acetazolamide (carbonic anhydrase inhibitor)
  • CSF drainage via lumbar puncture
  • Rarely, surgical decompression / shunting.


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