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Idiopathic intracranial hypertension 

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Alexandra Sinclair

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date: 28 February 2021

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) (also called pseudotumour cerebri and, previously, benign intracranial hypertension) is a syndrome of raised intracranial pressure in the absence of an intracranial mass lesion, enlargement of the cerebral ventricles, or venous sinus thrombosis. IIH affects predominantly obese women of childbearing age (>90%). The condition has considerable morbidity from permanent visual loss (up to 25% of cases) and chronic disabling headaches, which result in poor quality of life. Patients presenting acutely with papilloedema must be evaluated urgently for secondary causes of raised intracranial pressure (e.g. space occupying lesion and venous thrombosis). After this, the priority is to assess accurately the threat to vision. In most patients, the condition becomes chronic and the disease burden is mostly from chronic headaches, which need active management, alongside visual monitoring. This chapter does not cover paediatric IIH.

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