Increased intracranial pressure

An uncommon case of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension with diagnostic pitfalls

Authors: Mrfka M, Pistracher K, Schökler B, Wissa S, Kurschel-Lackner S.

We report on an unusual case of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) in a woman of normal weight. Papilledema and increased intracranial pressure are symptoms of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or idiopathic intrancranial hypertension. Because of the different treatment strategies, it is important to keep these two diseases separate. We show that the use of different imaging methods is an important tool in obtaining an effective diagnosis.

Papilledema: Are We Any Nearer to a Consensus on Pathogenesis and Treatment

Authors: Lee AG, Wall M.

Papilledema is a term generally reserved (at least in the English language use of the term) by neuro-ophthalmologists for optic disc edema due to increased intracranial pressure. The etiology for the intracranial hypertension may be known (e.g., brain tumor, meningitis, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis) or may be idiopathic (idiopathic intracranial hypertension ). IIH is a disorder that predominantly affects overweight women of childbearing age and these epidemiologic factors should offer clues to pathogenesis. The main morbidity of papilledema is visual loss and the major mechanism for permanent optic nerve damage is axoplasmic flow stasis and resultant intraneuronal ischemia. The current initial management of papilledema in IIH includes weight loss and medical therapy (e.g., acetazolamide or furosemide). Patients who fail, are intolerant to, or noncompliant with maximum tolerated medical therapy might require optic nerve sheath fenestration or cerebrospinal fluid diversion (i.e., shunting) procedures.

Emergency management of increased intracranial pressure

Authors: Pitfield AF, Carroll AB, Kissoon N.

Primary neurological injury in children can be induced by diverse intrinsic and extrinsic factors including brain trauma, tumors, and intracranial infections. Regardless of etiology, increased intracranial pressure (ICP) as a result of the primary injury or delays in treatment may lead to secondary (preventable) brain injury. Therefore, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment of increased ICP is vital in preventing or limiting secondary brain injury in children with a neurological insult. Present management strategies to improve survival and neurological outcome focus on reducing ICP while optimizing cerebral perfusion and meeting cerebral metabolic demands. Targeted therapies for increased ICP must be considered and implemented as early as possible during and after the initial stabilization of the child. Thus, the emergency physician has a critical role to play in early identification and treatment of increased ICP. This article intends to identify those patients at risk of intracranial hypertension and present a framework for the emergency department investigation and treatment, in keeping with contemporary guidelines. Intensive care management and the treatment of refractory increases in ICP are also outlined.

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