Home Disorders Brain Disorders Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC)

Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC)


Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) also known as Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), and sometimes referred to as benign intracranial hypertension (BIH) is a neurological disorder which can affect predominantly obese women of childbearing age. This is a condition whose symptoms mirror those of a brain tumor such as increased intracranial pressure, headache, nausea, brief periods of vision loss (graying or blurring) and double vision.

Pseudotumor cerebri literally means "false brain tumor" hence the relation which other tumors. It is likely due to high pressure caused by the poor absorption of cerebrospinal fluid in the subarachnoid space surrounding the brain.

Symptoms of Pseudotumor Cerebri

  1. Headache is the most common presenting complaint, occurring in more than 90 percent of cases.
  2. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting may also be encountered,
  3. Tinnitus, or a "rushing" sound in the ears, is another frequent complaint.
  4. Reports of ocular pain, particularly with extreme eye movements, have also been noted.

Causes of Pseudotumor Cerebri

The exact cause of pseudotumor cerebri in most individuals is unknown. It is sometimes linked to an excess amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the outer part of the skull.

Treatment of Pseudotumor Cerebri

Patients without visual loss most often are treated with a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (eg, acetazolamide) to lower the intracranial pressure (ICP). Some authors believe digoxin has the same effect and is associated with fewer adverse effects.

High-dose corticosteroids (eg prednisone) may be used for severe cases. Once the diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri is confirmed, close, repeated ophthalmologic exams are required to monitor any changes in vision.

Drugs may be used to reduce fluid buildup and to relieve pressure. Weight loss and cessation of certain drugs (including oral contraceptives, tetracycline, and a variety of steroids) may lead to improvement. Surgery may be needed to remove pressure on the optic nerve.