Idiopathic intracranial hypertension: long-term follow-up and impact on patients’ visual function with a literature review
1 Neurology Department, Copernicus PL, St. Adalbert Hospital, Gdańsk, Poland
2 Department of Neurological and Psychiatric Nursing, Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland
3 Ophthalmology Department, Copernicus PL, St. Adalbert Hospital, Gdańsk, Poland
4 Radiology Department, Copernicus PL, St. Adalbert Hospital, Gdańsk, Poland
Correspondence: Magdalena Kwaśniak-Butowska, Neurology Department, Copernicus PL, St. Adalbert Hospital, Jana Pawła II 50, 80-462 Gdańsk, Poland, tel.: +48 697 720 797, e-mail:
Aktualn Neurol 2018, 18 (2), p. 61–67
DOI: 10.15557/AN.2018.0008

Aim: The aim of the study was a long-term observation (particularly in terms of visual function) of patients hospitalised at the Neurology Department of St. Adalbert Hospital in Gdańsk, Poland, due to an episode of idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Material and methods: The Department’s archives held records of 13 cases of idiopathic intracranial hypertension treated from 2007 to 2015. The retrospectively retrieved data concerned: age, sex, height, weight, comborbidities, symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, neurological abnormalities, fundoscopy findings, vision field, brain magnetic resonance findings, visual evoked potentials and employed treatment. Eleven patients reported for a follow-up examination, and 6 patients completed it. The patients were examined neurologically and ophthalmologically with fundoscopy, visual field test, visual acuity and visual evoked potentials. The results were compared with the disease history data. The follow-up period lasted 4–47 months. Results: Nine of 11 patients were females. In 2 of them, the initial diagnosis was revised, and 3 did not complete all procedures. Six patients were included in the analysis. The most common complain upon admission was headache and tunnel vision. Brain magnetic resonance imaging scans revealed changes characteristic of idiopathic intracranial hypertension in 5 patients. Therapeutic drainage of cerebrospinal fluid was performed in all the patients, and all of them were treated with acetazolamide. Visual disturbances (visual field loss or impaired visual evoked potentials) persisted in 3 patients. Significant risk factors for idiopathic intracranial hypertension in the analysed group were: female sex, increased body mass index and reproductive age. Permanent vision impairment was observed in patients who required more intensive treatment. Conclusion: Weight gain is a significant risk factor for poor outcome. Visual field assessment and fundoscopy seem to be superior than visual acuity in the monitoring of disease activity.

Keywords: idiopathic intracranial hypertension, visual evoked potentials, visual field loss, papilloedema, headache, long-term follow-up