Pseudotumour cerebri, CSF rhinorrhoea and the role of venous sinus stenting in treatment

Br J Neurosurg. 2003 Feb;17(1):79-83. doi: 10.3109/02688690309177979.


We present a case of pseudotumour cerebri (PTC), which is important as it illustrates the effects of chronically raised CSF pressure, the relationship between PTC and venous sinus obstruction and the successful treatment of PTC using a venous sinus stent. A 38-year-old woman, previously diagnosed with PTC and unsuccessfully treated 10 years previously re-presented with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhoea. Imaging revealed dramatic changes of chronically raised CSF pressure and a defect in the anterior cranial fossa. The CSF leak was corrected surgically and a lumbo-peritoneal shunt inserted to correct a large postoperative subgaleal CSF collection. Direct retrograde cerebral venography (DRCV) demonstrated venous sinus obstruction due to a filling defect. This was associated with a pressure gradient and a high superior sagittal sinus pressure. The venous sinus obstruction was successfully treated with a venous sinus stent and the lumbo-peritoneal shunt was removed. Chronically raised CSF pressure in untreated cases of PTC may cause widespread changes in the skull, which in this case, culminated in a spontaneous CSF leak despite relatively mild headache and visual symptoms. Furthermore, cases of PTC secondary to venous sinus obstruction may be successfully treated using venous sinus stenting. The index of suspicion for venous sinus stenosis or obstruction should be raised in the investigation of patients with PTC.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure / physiology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / etiology*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / physiopathology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / surgery
  • Constriction, Pathologic / complications
  • Constriction, Pathologic / physiopathology
  • Cranial Sinuses / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / complications*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / physiopathology
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / surgery
  • Stents
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Venous Pressure / physiology