Clinical characterization of idiopathic intracranial hypertension at the Detroit Medical Center

Jennifer A. Galvin, Gregory P. Van Stavern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Background: Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), also known as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), is a condition characterized by increased intracranial pressure without clinical, laboratory or radiologic evidence of an intracranial space-occupying lesion, meningeal inflammation or venous outflow obstruction. Previous population-based studies evaluated the presenting clinical features of IIH in North-Eastern Libya, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Northern Ireland, Israel and Western Turkey. However, we report the demographic patterns of a metropolitan North American city. Methods: We performed a retrospective study of all patients with an initial IIH diagnosis and follow-up at the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Michigan from 1985 to 2002. Medical records of 174 patients were reviewed, with 77 patients fitting the diagnostic criteria. Results: Seventy-seven patients, 71 females (92.2%) and 6 males (7.8%) were identified. Age ranged from 10 to 50 years, with a mean of 34 years. Fifty patients (65%) were African-American and 24 patients (31%) were Caucasian. The most common presentation was isolated headache (28.6%). Nineteen patients (24.7%) were asymptomatic. Obesity was described in 65 of 74 patients (87.8%) evaluated for body dimensions. Conclusions: We report an increased number of asymptomatic patients after routine ophthalmic examination. Obese females in metropolitan Detroit would benefit from routine eye evaluations to avoid potential visual loss related to papilledema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-160
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 30 2004


  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • North American demographics
  • Pseudotumor cerebri


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