Idiopathic intracranial hypertension in otolaryngology

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Jun;266(6):803-6. doi: 10.1007/s00405-009-0973-0. Epub 2009 Apr 8.


Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is defined as increased intracranial pressure in the absence of intracranial mass or obstructive hydrocephalus. Over 80% of patients are overweight women. IIH is usually encountered in the neurology and ophthalmology practise as headaches, visual disturbance and papilloedema are the characteristic features of this syndrome. Patients with IIH also experience tinnitus, hearing loss, balance disturbance, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) otorrhoea or rhinorrhoea and in some cases these otorhinological symptoms can be presenting features of this syndrome. IIH is also associated with obstructive sleep apnoea. Otolaryngologists should be familiar with this important condition as it can manifest a variety of symptoms that are more frequently seen in their clinics. Sometimes otolaryngologists may be involved in the surgical management of this condition, such as repair of CSF rhinorrhoea or otorrhoea or endoscopic optic nerve decompression. The aim of this review article is to familiarise the otolaryngologists with the important features of this unusual syndrome which may remain unrecognised in the otolaryngology practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / complications
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Headache / complications
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Papilledema / complications
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / complications
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / diagnosis*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Tinnitus / complications
  • Vision Disorders / complications