JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension: clinical and neuroimaging findings in six cases with literature review

A Haritanti, D Karacostas, A Drevelengas, V Kanellopoulos, E Paraskevopoulou, A Lefkopoulos, I Economou, A S Dimitriadis
European Journal of Radiology 2009, 69 (2): 253-9
18182266
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is an uncommon but increasingly recognized syndrome. Orthostatic headache with typical findings on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the key to diagnosis. Delayed diagnosis of this condition may subject patients to unnecessary procedures and prolong morbidity. We describe six patients with SIH and outline the important clinical and neuroimaging findings. They were all relatively young, 20-54 years old, with clearly orthostatic headache, minimal neurological signs (only abducent nerve paresis in two) and diffuse pachymeningeal gadolinium enhancement on brain MRI, while two of them presented subdural hygromas. Spinal MRI was helpful in detecting a cervical cerebrospinal fluid leak in three patients and dilatation of the vertebral venous plexus with extradural fluid collection in another. Conservative management resulted in rapid resolution of symptoms in five patients (10 days-3 weeks) and in one who developed cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, the condition resolved in 2 months. However, this rapid clinical improvement was not accompanied by an analogous regression of the brain MR findings that persisted on a longer follow-up. Along with recent literature data, our patients further point out that SIH, to be correctly diagnosed, necessitates increased alertness by the attending physician, in the evaluation of headaches.

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