Idiopathic intracranial hypertension associated with iron deficiency anaemia: a lesson for management

Eur Neurol. 2009;62(2):105-8. doi: 10.1159/000222781. Epub 2009 Jun 12.


Aim: To document the causal association of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and intracranial hypertension (IH).

Methods: A consecutive case note review of patients with a clinical diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) and anaemia presenting to a tertiary referral unit over a 2.5-year period. Demographics, aetiology and clinical details were recorded and analysed.

Results: Eight cases were identified from 77 new cases presenting with IIH. All 8 had documented microcytic anaemia with clinical evidence of raised intracranial pressure. There was no evidence of venous sinus thrombosis on MRI and MR venography in 7 subjects and on repeated CT venography in 1. On correction of anaemia alone, 7 cases resolved. One patient with severe progressive visual loss underwent ventriculoperitoneal shunt in addition to treatment of anaemia, with good outcome. The incidence of this association is 10.3%.

Conclusion: These cases present an association between IDA and IH, in the absence of cerebral sinus thrombosis. As a clinically significant proportion of cases presenting with signs of IIH have IDA, we recommend all patients presenting with IIH have full blood counts and if they are found to be anaemic, they should be treated appropriately.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / complications
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / pathology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / therapy*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / complications
  • Intracranial Hypertension / pathology
  • Intracranial Hypertension / therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phlebography
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt
  • Young Adult