|Title||Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension Without Intracranial Hypotension|
|Creator||Peeraully, Tasneem; Rosenberg, Michael L|
|Affiliation||New Jersey Neuroscience Institute, John F. Kennedy Medical Center|
|Abstract||A 52-year-old man with a family history of multiple aneurysms presented with the gradual onset of generalized headaches and bilateral sixth nerve palsies. Following intravenous contrast, MRI revealed diffuse pachymeningeal enhancement consistent with spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). Lack of any postural component to the headaches and repeatedly normal opening pressures on lumbar puncture delayed the diagnosis. A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak was not found, but an epidural blood patch led to resolution of symptoms. Although the atypical features of nonorthostatic headache and normal CSF opening pressure have been documented in SIH, and failure to find the site of the leak is not unusual, this case illustrates a confluence of all these findings. An underlying disorder of connective tissue has been linked to SIH, and we propose that decreased meningeal compliance could account for a symptomatic low-volume state of CSF without a low opening pressure.|
Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension Without Intracranial Hypotension Tasneem Peeraully, MBBS, BSc, Michael L. Rosenberg, MD Abstract: A 52-year-old man with a family history of multiple aneurysms presented with the gradual onset of generalized headaches and bilateral sixth nerve palsies. Following intravenous contrast, MRI revealed diffuse pachymeningeal enhancement consistent with sponta-neous intracranial hypotension (SIH). Lack of any postural component to the headaches and repeatedly normal opening pressures on lumbar puncture delayed the diagnosis. A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak was not found, but an epidural blood patch led to resolution of symptoms. Although the atypical features of nonorthostatic head-ache and normal CSF opening pressure have been docu-mented in SIH, and failure to find the site of the leak is not unusual, this case illustrates a confluence of all these findings. An underlying disorder of connective tissue has been linked to SIH, and we propose that decreased meningeal compliance could account for a symptomatic low-volume state of CSF without a low opening pressure. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology 2010;31:248-251 doi: 10.1097/WNO.0b013e3181fcc04a 2010 by North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society Atypical spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) may occur with normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) opening pressure and in the absence of postural headache. It has been postulated that a low CSF volume state could account for these findings and explain the efficacy of epi-dural blood patching in these cases. However, the patho-physiology of atypical SIH remains unclear. The association between connective tissue diseases and SIH may enhance our understanding of this phenomenon. CASE REPORT A 52-year-old man with no neurological history was referred for evaluation of headaches and double vision. Nine months previously, he noted the gradual onset of mild to moderate constant headaches, most prominent occipitally. There was associated photophobia and phonophobia but no fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or other systemic symptoms. Threemonths after the onset of symptoms, brain MRI was reported to be unremarkable, and his headaches resolved spontaneously. Eight months later, he awoke with headache and double vision, associated with constant phonophobia and hyper-acusis. The patient described horizontal diplopia that was more prominent at distance than at near but denied eye pain, swelling, redness, or blurred vision. The headaches remained unchanged with change in position or activities, which would increase intracranial pressure. There was no history of trauma or any known violation of the epidural or thecal spaces. Interestingly, his father had multiple aneur-ysms including the aortic, right iliac, and bilateral popliteal arteries. Neither an occipital nerve block nor the use of beta-blockers relieved the headaches. Neuro-ophthalmological examination revealed bilateral sixth nerve palsies with intact afferent visual function. Review of the initial MRI showed thickening and en-hancement of the meninges, which was more marked on a follow-up brain MRI. There was no ‘‘sagging'' of the brain, tonsillar descent, or posterior fossa crowding. Opening pressure on lumbar puncture was 140 mm H2O. CSF was light yellow and clear, with 183 red blood cells per cubic millimeter and 7 white cells per cubic millimeter, all monocytes. Protein was 132 mg/dL (normal: 15-45 mg/dL), and glucose 57 mg/dL (normal: 40-70 mg/dL). Because of the normal opening pressure, an evaluation for other causes of pachymeningitis was performed but was unrevealing. The patient was given a trial of prednisone, with no improve-ment in his symptoms. Two months later, headaches increased, diplopia per-sisted, and the patient continued to deny any change in his New Jersey Neuroscience Institute, John F. Kennedy Medical Center (TP, MLR), Edison, New Jersey. The authors report no conflict of interest. Address correspondence to Tasneem Peeraully, BSc, MBBS, New Jersey Neuroscience Institute, John F. Kennedy Medical Center, 65 James Street, Edison, NJ 08820; E-mail: email@example.com 248 Peeraully and Rosenberg: J Neuro-Ophthalmol 2010; 31: 248-251 Clinical Observation Copyright © North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited. headaches with changes in position or activity. A third brain MRI depicted progression of meningeal enhancement with bifrontal subdural hygromas and descent of the cere-bellar tonsils and optic chiasm (Fig. 1). On examination, he had no change in his bilateral sixth nerve paresis. His opening pressure on repeat lumbar puncture was again 140 mm H2O. Despite the lack of orthostatic headache and normal CSF pressure, the patient was felt to have intracranial hypo-tension. Cisternography as well as MRI of the spine were done, but neither showed any evidence of a CSF leak. He underwent an epidural blood patch at the L3-L4 level. Three days later, he reported that his headaches were minimal and that his diplopia had almost resolved. Over the next week, he became totally asymptomatic with full range of eye movements, no diplopia, and no headache. Three months following the epidural blood patch, the patient reported complete resolution of his headaches and diplopia. Neuro-ophthalmic testing was normal including full range of extraocular movements. MRI of the brain was now normal (Fig. 2). A CT angiogramof the aorta was normal. DISCUSSION SIH, first described by Schaltenbrand in 1938 (1), is an uncommon disorder with an estimated prevalence of 5 per 100,000 (2). It is characterized by a triad of postural headache, diffuse pachymeningeal enhancement on con-trasted MRI, and low CSF pressure. Headaches are the presenting feature in most patients and may be acute or gradual in onset. They may be gen-eralized but when localized most commonly affect the frontal and occipital regions. As in patients with decreased intracranial pressure of any cause, the headaches are typi-cally made worse with standing and promptly improve with sitting or lying down. This postural component is present in 92% of patients and, when absent, makes the diagnosis more difficult (3,4). Acephalgic forms of low pressure or low volume states have been reported and are usually related to overdraining CSF shunts (5,6). Neuro-ophthalmic complaints are common. Blurred vision or transient obscurations of vision occur in 8%-23% of patients with SIH (3,7). Diplopia is reported in up to one third of patients (7-14). Unilateral or bilateral sixth nerve palsies may be due to distortion of this cranial nerve by the downward displacement (‘‘sagging'') of the brain (7). In a literature review of 29 studies of intracranial hypotension, unilateral abducens nerve palsies were reported in 60% of cases, while bilateral paresis was noted in 24% (9). Other symptoms noted in cases of SIH include nausea (58%-75%), vomiting (33%-58%), and pain either nuchal (29%-33%) or interscapular (25%) (3,10,12). Tinnitus, vertigo, photophobia, and phonophobia have been associ-ated with SIH (7-9,15,16). In the past, the diagnosis of SIH was based on the presence of postural headache associated with low CSF pressure. MRI findings in SIH have been well described and are of critical importance in establishing the diagnosis. Diffuse thickening and enhancement of the meninges and choroid plexus are present in 83% of patients with SIH (3). These changes are thought to result from leaky meningeal vessels and small vessel rupture (8,17). Subdural hematomas and hygromas, likely secondary to the rupture of veins from downward displacement of the brain, are each seen in 8% of cases (4). More recently, venous distension of the contour of the transverse sinus seen on T1 imaging has been reported as having a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 94% for intracranial hypotension (18). Although dural enhancement is very characteristic of this condition, it may be absent in 22%-25% of patients (3,19). FIG. 1. Prior to blood patch, T1 coronal (A) and sagittal (B) MRI demonstrates meningeal enhancement (black arrows), sagging optic chiasm (white arrowhead), mild descent of the cerebellar tonsils (asterisk), and narrowing of the inter-peduncular and prepontine cisterns (black arrowheads). The coronal image also reveals bilateral subdural hygromas (white arrows). Peeraully and Rosenberg: J Neuro-Ophthalmol 2010; 31: 248-251 249 Clinical Observation Copyright © North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited. Interestingly, those patients had a significantly poorer response to treatment than those with characteristic MRI changes (19). SIH has been linked to CSF leakage. Identification of such a leak is helpful in confirming the diagnosis and allowing for direct treatment. The leak often results from a tear in the arachnoid, most commonly thought to be at the root sleeve of an exiting spinal nerve. Rupture of a diverticulum, usually at the cervical or thoracic roots, is also thought to account for many of the leaks (2,11,20-23). SIH may be related to minor trauma, but it is often idio-pathic (24). It has been proposed that spontaneous CSF leaks could be secondary to dural weakness as a result of connective tissue disorders. In a review of 58 patients with spontaneous CSF leaks, 9 had features of connective tissue disorder with 1 patient having a strong family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm (25). Although our patient had no evidence of connective tissue disorder, his father had a history of multiple arterial aneurysms. A specific CSF leak can be identified in 58%-92% of patients with typical SIH, using a variety of diagnostic techniques including radioisotope cisternography, spinal MRI, and CT myelography (3,4). In a review of 12 patients (3), site of leakage was revealed by radioisotope cisternog-raphy in 6 of 11 patients and by CT myelography in 1 patient. Of the 4 patients who had spine MRI, epidural free fluid from the thoracic to lumbar region was demonstrated in 1 case (3). In a series of 6 atypical patients with non-postural headache and normal CSF pressures despite diffuse pachymeningeal enhancement on MRI, a CSF leakage site was confirmed in only a single patient (4). As one would expect given the presumed pathophysi-ology, the CSF pressure is characteristically very low and a lumbar puncture is typically diagnostic in these patients. Lumbar opening pressure is less than 60 mm H2O in more than 80% of cases (3,12). Several studies have noted higher pressures including some within the normal range. Kong et al (4) observed 6 patients with atypical presentations who had opening pressures ranging from 90 to 120 mm H2O. Mokri et al (12) studied 40 patients with orthostatic headaches, 7 having consistently normal opening pressures ranging from 65 to 140 mm H2O. In accounting for normal CSF pressure in suspected CSF leak headache syndromes, Mokri et al (12) proposed a check valve phenomenon with a pressure- or volume-dependent CSF leakage that would only permit CSF to leak at higher pressures or volumes. This in turn would create a low-volume state. The resultant sagging of the brain and sub-sequent traction exerted on pain-sensitive structures would produce a postural headache. The immediate relief expe-rienced after the epidural blood patching might be attrib-uted to replacement of volume by displacing and compressing the dural sac, rather than occlusion of the leak (12). This theory might best explain the therapeutic effect of an epidural blood patch, in cases such as ours, where no leak could be identified. Abnormal connective tissue may also contribute to the pathophysiology of SIH. These patients are likely to tear the meninges with even minor trauma. Abnormal meningeal connective tissue with low compliance could explain the lack of expected drop in CSF pressure despite a decrease in CSF volume. SIH is often self-limited or may respond to conservative measures including bed rest, hydration, mineralocorticoids, caffeine, and oral analgesics. If these measures fail, the treatment of choice is an autologous epidural blood patch (3). Other options include intrathecal or epidural saline infusions, and in refractory cases, where a CSF leak can be identified, surgery for direct ligation of a leaking meningeal diverticulum or epidural packing at the site of the leak (3). Our case emphasizes 2 important features of SIH. First, the classical triad of SIH is not always present. Second, an epidural blood patch was successful in abolishing our patient's symptoms despite the absence of any identifiable CSF leak. SIH should be included in the differential di-agnosis of patients presenting with headache and horizontal diplopia due to unilateral or bilateral sixth nerve palsies. FIG. 2. Following application of a blood patch, T1 coronal (A) and sagittal (B) scans have a normal appearance. 250 Peeraully and Rosenberg: J Neuro-Ophthalmol 2010; 31: 248-251 Clinical Observation Copyright © North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. 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|Publisher||Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins|
|Rights Management||© North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|