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Pseudotumor Cerebri

Pseudotumor Cerebri is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Buildup of CSF pressure without mass lesion or clear etiology
  • Also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • 2 proposed mechanisms:
    • Increased abdominal pressure or intracranial venous stenosis may decrease venous drainage from the head
    • Vitamin A levels above the saturation of the liver can damage cell membranes in the arachnoid granulations
  • Associated with obesity
  • Average age of onset 30 yr
  • Female predominance (7:1)
  • Uncommon, ∼1–5 cases per 100,000


Proposed causative agents:
  • Obesity
  • Obstruction of intracranial venous drainage
  • Hypervitaminosis A
  • Steroids/steroid withdrawal
  • Tetracycline antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Hypertension
  • Recent weight gain
  • Chronic carbon dioxide retention with elevated intracranial pressure

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Pseudotumor Cerebri." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307237/all/Pseudotumor_Cerebri.
Pseudotumor Cerebri. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307237/all/Pseudotumor_Cerebri. Accessed April 25, 2019.
Pseudotumor Cerebri. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307237/all/Pseudotumor_Cerebri
Pseudotumor Cerebri [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 25]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307237/all/Pseudotumor_Cerebri.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Pseudotumor Cerebri ID - 307237 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307237/all/Pseudotumor_Cerebri PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -