Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), sometimes called by the older names benign intracranial hypertension (BIH) or pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), is a neurological disorder that is characterized by increased intracranial pressure (pressure around the brain) in the absence of a tumor or other diseases.
The main symptoms are stroke-like headache, nausea, and vomiting, as well as pulsatile tinnitus (sounds perceived in the ears, with the sound occurring in the same rhythm as the pulse), double vision and other visual symptoms. If untreated, it may lead to swelling of the optic disc in the eye, which can progress to vision loss.
A thorough medical history and physical examination is needed to evaluate.
If a diagnosis of intracranial hypertension is confirmed, close, repeated ophthalmologic exams are required to monitor any changes in vision.
Intracranial hypertension is diagnosed with a brain scan (to rule out other causes) and a lumbar puncture; lumbar puncture may also provide temporary and sometimes permanent relief from the symptoms. Some respond to medication (with the drug acetazolamide, Topiramate, Furosemide, others or a combination), but others require surgery to relieve the pressure. The condition may occur in all age groups, but is most common in women aged 20–40.