Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
Michael Wall, M.D.
The University of Iowa
Department of Neurology and
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension is a condition of high pressure in the fluid around the brain. It is also known as pseudotumor cerebri because there are some of the signs and symptoms of a brain tumor without a brain tumor being present (pseudo meaning false).
The results of a long-term prospective study are found in this Brain manuscript , and a recent review can be found at this link.
The space around the brain is filled with a water-like fluid. (Fig 1.) If there is too much of this fluid present, (for example, if not enough being absorbed, Fig 2), the pressure around the brain rises. This is because the space containing the fluid cannot expand. It is this high pressure that produces the symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (idiopathic means unknown cause; intracranial means inside the head; hypertension means the fluid is under high pressure).