Idiopathic intracranial hypertension without papilledema: a case-control study in a headache center

Neurology. 1998 Jul;51(1):245-9. doi: 10.1212/wnl.51.1.245.


Objective: To compare the clinical features of patients with chronic daily headache (CDH) with idiopathic intracranial hypertension without papilledema (IIHWOP) to those with normal CSF pressure.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted at a tertiary headache center. Cases consisted of 25 consecutive patients (24 women, 1 man, 38 +/- 6 years) with IIHWOP diagnosed between June 1989 and June 1996. IIHWOP was diagnosed if pressure was 200 mm CSF on two occasions and there was no papilledema. Control subjects consisted of patients with refractory CDH who had normal CSF pressure on lumbar puncture performed between June 1992 and June 1996 (n = 60, 50 women, 10 men, 36 +/- 11 years). A structured telephone follow-up was done from July 1996 to March 1997. Comparisons made between the two groups included demographics and headache profiles, both at the initial evaluation and at follow-up.

Results: The initial headache characteristics did not differ between the two groups: most had transformed migraine with analgesic overuse. Significant predictors of IIHWOP included pulsatile tinnitus (odds ratio [OR] = 13.0) and obesity (OR = 4.4). Visual symptoms did not differ significantly. The prognosis of the two groups of patients was similar.

Conclusions: Pulsatile tinnitus and obesity suggest possible IIHWOP in patients with CDH. Treatment of patients with increased intracranial pressure was not satisfactory.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / complications
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / therapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology
  • Papilledema / diagnosis*
  • Papilledema / etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Spinal Puncture
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome