St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Pseudotumor cerebri

    Idiopathic intracranial hypertension; Benign intracranial hypertension

    Pseudotumor cerebri is a condition in which the pressure inside the skull is increased. The brain is affected in a waythat the conditionappears to be -- but is not -- a tumor.

    Causes

    The condition occurs more often in women than men, especially in obese women who are about to go through menopause. It is rare in infants, but can occur in children.

    The cause is unknown.

    Certain medicines can increase your riskof this condition. These medicines include:

    • Birth control pills
    • Cyclosporine
    • Isotretinoin
    • Minocycline
    • Nalidixic acid
    • Nitrofurantoin
    • Phenytoin
    • Steroids (starting or stopping them)
    • Sulfa drugs
    • Tamoxifen
    • Tetracycline
    • Vitamin A

    The following factors are also related to this condition:

    • Addison disease
    • Chronic kidney failure
    • Cushing's disease
    • Hypoparathyroidism
    • Iron deficiency anemia
    • Obesity
    • Onset of menstruation (menarche)
    • Pregnancy

    Symptoms

    Symptoms include:

    • Blurred vision
    • Buzzing sound in the ears (tinnitus)
    • Dizziness
    • Double vision (diplopia)
    • Nausea
    • Vision loss

    Symptoms may get worse during physical activity, especially when you tighten the stomach muscles.

    Exams and Tests

    The doctor will perform a physical exam. Signs of this condition include:

    • Bulging anterior fontanelle
    • Increased head size
    • Swelling of the optic nerve in the back of the eye (papilledema)

    Even though there is increased pressure in the skull, there is no change in alertness.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • CT scan of the head
    • Eye exam, incluiding visual field testing
    • MRI of the head with MR venography
    • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)

    Diagnosis is made when other health conditions are ruled out. Several conditions may cause increased pressure in the skull, including:

    • Hydrocephalus
    • Tumor
    • Venous sinus thrombosis

    Treatment

    Treatment is aimed at the cause of the pseudotumor.

    A lumbar puncture can help relieve pressure in the brain and prevent vision problems.

    Other treatments may include:

    • Fluid or salt restriction
    • Medications such as corticosteroids, acetazolamide, and furosemide
    • Shunting procedures to relieve pressure from spinal fluid buildup
    • Surgery to relieve pressure on the optic nerve
    • Weight loss

    Patients will need to have their vision closely monitored. There can be vision loss, which is sometimes permanent. Follow-up MRI or CT scans may be done to rule out hidden cancer.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Sometimes the condition disappears on its own within 6 months. Symptoms can return in some persons. A small number of patients have symptoms that slowly get worse and lead to blindness.

    Possible Complications

    Vision loss is a serious complication of this condition.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you or your child experiences the symptoms listed above.

    References

    DeAngelis LM. Tumors of the central nervous system and intracranial hypertension and hypotension. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA:Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 195.

    Dhungana S, Sharrack B, Woodroofe N. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension.Acta Neurol Scand. 2010;121(2):71-82.

    Pless ML. Pseudotumor cerebri. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, et al.,eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA:Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 597.

    Rosenberg GA. Brain edema and disorders of cerebrospinal fluid circulation. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC,eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 59.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Central nervous system

      illustration

      • Central nervous system

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Review Date: 2/27/2013

          Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles and Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          History
          Mission
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs
          Assessment

          Newsroom
          Services
          Brain & Spine
          Cancer
          Heart
          Maternity
          Orthopedics
          Pulmonary
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          mystlukes
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Health Risk Assessments
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Volunteer
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          Careers
          Careers
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile