The relationship of intracranial venous pressure to hydrocephalus

Childs Nerv Syst. 1994 Jan;10(1):29-35. doi: 10.1007/BF00313582.


Little is known about intracranial venous pressure in hydrocephalus. Recently, we reported that naturally occurring hydrocephalus in Beagle dogs was associated with an elevation in cortical venous pressure. We proposed that the normal pathway for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) absorption includes transcapillary or transvenular absorption of CSF from the interstitial space and that the increase in cortical venous pressure is an initial event resulting in decreased absorption and subsequent hydrocephalus. Further analysis, however, suggests that increased cortical venous pressure reflects the effect of the failure of transvillus absorption with increase in CSF pressure on the venous pressure gradient between ventricle and cortex. Normally, the cortical venous pressure is maintained above CSF pressure by the Starling resistor effect of the lateral lacunae. A similar mechanism is absent in the deep venous system, and thus the pressure in the deep veins is similar to that in the dural sinuses. Decreased CSF absorption causes an increase in CSF pressure followed by an increase in cortical venous pressure without a similar increase in periventricular venous pressure. The periventricular CSF to venous (transparenchymal) pressure (TPP) gradient increases. In contrast, cortical vein pressure remains greater than CSF pressure (negative TPP). The elevated periventricular TPP gradient causes ventricular dilatation and decreased periventricular cerebral blood flow (CBF), a condition that persists even if the CSF pressure returns to normal, particularly if tissue elastance is lessened by tissue damage. If deep CBF is to be maintained, periventricular venous pressure must increase. Since the veins are in a continuum, cortical venous pressure will further increase above the CSF pressure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply
  • Cerebral Veins / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / blood supply
  • Cerebral Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology
  • Child
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / physiopathology*
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / physiopathology
  • Venous Pressure / physiology*