Meta-analysis and systematic review of population-based epidemiological studies in idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Eur J Neurol. 2018 Oct;25(10):1218-1227. doi: 10.1111/ene.13739. Epub 2018 Aug 3.


Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is positively associated with obesity, mostly in young women. The global increase in obesity may influence the burden of IIH. Using the PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE and Web of Science databases, a meta-analysis and systematic review of epidemiological studies of IIH were performed up to June 2017. Temporal changes in IIH incidence were measured, and incidence rates of IIH were correlated with country-specific World Health Organization obesity rates. Prevalence data and shunting rates of IIH were recorded. The quality of epidemiological studies was assessed using the Standards of Reporting of Neurological Disorders (STROND) criteria. In 15 identified studies, there were 889 patients (87% women), mean age 29.8 years. The incidence of IIH ranged from 0.03 to 2.36 per 100 000 per year. The pooled incidence of IIH was 1.20 per 100 000 per year although there was very high heterogeneity (I2 98%). The incidence rates of IIH were correlated with country-specific prevalence of obesity (Spearman's correlation 0.82, P < 0.01). The prevalence of IIH was rarely recorded. A shunting procedure was reported in 8% of patients. STROND criteria were variably reported, median of 26.5 of 43 (range 16-35). IIH is a public health concern as increased obesity prevalence is associated with increased incidence of IIH. A better quality of epidemiological studies is required to improve understanding of IIH and inform health policy for IIH management.

Keywords: epidemiology; idiopathic intracranial hypertension; meta-analysis; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult