Bilateral transverse sinus stenosis and idiopathic intracranial hypertension without papilledema in chronic tension-type headache

J Neurol. 2008 Jun;255(6):807-12. doi: 10.1007/s00415-008-0676-2. Epub 2008 May 6.


Previous MR studies have established that bilateral transverse sinus stenosis (BTSS) predicts idiopathic intracranial hypertension without papilledema (IIHWOP) in migraine. However, it is uncertain whether BTSS identifies IIHWOP in patients with chronic tension-type headache (CTTH): using cerebral MR venography this study aimed to address this question.In a prospective study from February 2002 to December 2006, 198 consecutive patients with CTTH underwent MR venography. Of these patients, 58 underwent lumbar puncture to measure cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure. MR venography and lumbar puncture were also performed in 45 age-matched control subjects. BTSS was considered present when the signal flow was poor or lacking (flow gap) in the mid-lateral portion of both transverse sinuses. IIHWOP was diagnosed if the patient met the diagnostic criteria for idiopathic intracranial hypertension and did not have papilledema. Among the 198 patients with CTTH who underwent MR venography, 18 (9%) had BTSS. Thirteen of these 18 patients with BTSS underwent lumbar puncture, and nine (69.2%) had IIHWOP. CSF opening pressure was normal in all 45 patients as well as in all 45 controls with normal MR venography.These data suggest that BTSS on MR venography is associated with increased intracranial pressure in the absence of papilledema in patients with headache mimicking CTTH.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure / physiology
  • Cranial Sinuses / pathology
  • Cranial Sinuses / physiopathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Headache Disorders / etiology
  • Headache Disorders / pathology
  • Headache Disorders / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papilledema / physiopathology
  • Phlebography / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / etiology*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / pathology
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / physiopathology
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / complications*
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / pathology
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / physiopathology
  • Spinal Puncture / standards
  • Tension-Type Headache / etiology*
  • Tension-Type Headache / pathology
  • Tension-Type Headache / physiopathology