Paradoxical presentation of orthostatic headache associated with increased intracranial pressure in patients with cerebral venous thrombosis

Authors: Kim JB, Kwon DY, Park MH, Kim BJ, Park KW.

Headache is the most common symptom of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT); however, the detailed underlying mechanisms and characteristics of headache in CVT have not been well described. Here, we report two cases of CVT whose primary and lasting presentation was orthostatic headache, suggestive of decreased intracranial pressure. Contrary to our expectations, the headaches were associated with elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure. Magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance venography showed characteristic voiding defects consistent with CVT. We suggest that orthostatic headache can be developed in a condition of decreased intracranial CSF volume in both intracranial hypotensive and intracranial hypertensive states. In these cases, orthostatic headache in CVT might be caused by decreased intracranial CSF volume that leads to the inferior displacement of the brain and traction on pain-sensitive intracranial vessels, despite increased CSF pressure on measurement. CVT should be considered in the differential diagnosis when a patient complains of orthostatic headache.

Full text and source: Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology

Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2013 Jan;16(1):85-7. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.107705.