Increased pulsatile intracranial pressure in patients with symptomatic pineal cysts and magnetic resonance imaging biomarkers indicative of central venous hypertension

J Neurol Sci. 2016 Aug 15;367:247-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2016.06.028. Epub 2016 Jun 11.


Background: In symptomatic individuals with non-hydrocephalic pineal cysts (PCs), it remains controversial what causes the symptoms. Based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) biomarkers, we proposed that PC-associated crowding of the pineal recess may cause central venous hypertension. The aim of this study was to compare pulsatile and static ICP in patients with PCs and chronic daily headache (CDH), and compare ICP data in PC patients with the previously identified MRI biomarkers.

Methods: All patients assessed with over-night ICP monitoring for PCs or CDH who had been ruled out for idiopathic intracranial hypertension without papilledema (IIHWOP) were retrieved from the database. The symptoms as well as the pulsatile and static ICP scores were compared between the PC and CDH patients, and ICP scores were compared with the MRI biomarkers indicative of central venous hypertension.

Results: The pulsatile ICP was significantly increased in the symptomatic patients with non-hydrocephalic PCs as compared to the CDH patients. Pulsatile ICP was significantly increased in the individuals with PC-grades 3-4, who had MRI biomarkers indicative of central venous hypertension. The tectum-splenium-cyst ratio correlated positively with pulsatile ICP and an index of thalamic edema.

Conclusions: Pulsatile ICP is increased in symptomatic patients with PCs and imaging evidence of central venous hypertension, supporting the hypothesis that PC-induced crowding of the pineal recess and venous obstruction may cause a central venous hypertension syndrome.

Keywords: Central venous hypertension; MRI; Pineal cysts; Pulsatile intracranial pressure; Symptomatic.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Edema / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Central Venous Pressure
  • Cysts / complications
  • Cysts / diagnostic imaging
  • Cysts / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Hypertension / etiology*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Intracranial Pressure
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult