Authors: Chang D, Nagamoto G, Smith WE.
Department of Nephrology, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond 23298-0160.
Benign intracranial hypertension (also called pseudotumor cerebri, otitic hydrocephalus, or meningeal hydrops) is a syndrome of markedly elevated intracranial pressure in the absence of intracranial mass, inflammation, or obstruction. Numerous disease processes and medications have been associated with it. However, renal failure has not been documented as an associated condition. In this report, the case of a 27-year-old Native American man with chronic renal failure of unknown etiology is described, with new-onset headache, papilledema, and elevated intracranial pressure. After normal cerebrospinal fluid, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging studies, a diagnosis of benign intracranial hypertension was made. Despite repeated lumbar punctures with cerebrospinal fluid removal, the patient's headaches persisted, and intracranial pressures remained in the 200 to 400 mm H2O range. After initiation of hemodialysis due to progressive deterioration of renal function, the patient's headaches became less severe and eventually disappeared. This case represents a unique association of chronic renal failure with benign intracranial hypertension.