MediFind
Condition

Increased Intracranial Pressure

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Increased Intracranial Pressure?

Increased intracranial pressure is a rise in the pressure inside the skull that can result from or cause brain injury.

What are the alternative names for Increased Intracranial Pressure?

ICP - raised; Intracranial pressure - raised; Intracranial hypertension; Acute increased intracranial pressure; Sudden increased intracranial pressure

What are the causes for Increased Intracranial Pressure?

Increased intracranial pressure can be due to a rise in pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Increase in intracranial pressure can also be due to a rise in pressure within the brain itself. This can be caused by a mass (such as a tumor), bleeding into the brain or fluid around the brain, or swelling within the brain itself.

An increase in intracranial pressure is a serious and life-threatening medical problem. The pressure can damage the brain or spinal cord by pressing on important structures and by restricting blood flow into the brain.

Many conditions can increase intracranial pressure. Common causes include:

  • Aneurysm rupture and subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Brain tumor
  • Encephalitis irritation and swelling, or inflammation, of the brain)
  • Head injury
  • Hydrocephalus (increased fluid around the brain)
  • Hypertensive brain hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain from high blood pressure)
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding into the fluid-filled areas, or ventricles, inside the brain)
  • Meningitis (infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • Subdural hematoma (bleeding between the covering of the brain and the surface of the brain)
  • Epidural hematoma (bleeding between the inside of the skull and the outer covering of the brain)
  • Seizure
  • Stroke

What are the symptoms for Increased Intracranial Pressure?

Infants:

  • Drowsiness
  • Separated sutures on the skull
  • Bulging of the soft spot on top of the head (bulging fontanelle)
  • Vomiting

Older children and adults:

  • Behavior changes
  • Decreased alertness
  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Nervous system symptoms, including weakness, numbness, eye movement problems, and double vision
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

What are the current treatments for Increased Intracranial Pressure?

Sudden increased intracranial pressure is an emergency. The person will be treated in the intensive care unit of the hospital. The health care team will measure and monitor the person's neurological and vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.

Treatment may include:

  • Breathing support
  • Draining of cerebrospinal fluid to lower pressure in the brain
  • Medicines to decrease swelling
  • Removal of part of the skull, especially in the first 2 days of a stroke that involves brain swelling

If a tumor, hemorrhage, or other problem has caused the increase in intracranial pressure, these problems will be treated.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Increased Intracranial Pressure?

Sudden increased intracranial pressure is a serious and often life-threatening condition. Prompt treatment results in better outlook.

If the increased pressure pushes on important brain structures and blood vessels, it can lead to serious, permanent problems or even death.

How do I prevent Increased Intracranial Pressure?

This condition usually cannot be prevented. If you have a persistent headache, blurred vision, changes in your level of alertness, nervous system problems, or seizures, seek medical help right away.

Subdural
Central

REFERENCES

Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Emergency or life-threatening situations. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 26.

Beaumont A. Physiology of the cerebrospinal fluid and intracranial pressure. In: Winn HR, ed. Youmans and Winn Neurological Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 52.

Kelly A-M. Neurology emergencies. In: Cameron P, Jelinek G, Kelly A-M, Brown A, Little M, eds. Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2015:386-427.

Latest Research

Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Human Immunodeficiency Virus-negative Cryptococcal Meningitis
  • Journal: Medicine
  • Treatment Used: Surgery
  • Number of Patients: 42
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the outcomes of undergoing surgery for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus-negative cryptococcal meningitis.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Adult Hydrocephalus
  • Journal: Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia
  • Treatment Used: Elective Intracranial Pressure Monitoring
  • Number of Patients: 152
  • Published —
This study investigated the use of elective intracranial pressure monitoring to manage and diagnose patients with adult hydrocephalus.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial
Other
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Study Type: Other
  • Participants: 420
  • Start Date: November 2020
Outcome pRognostication of Acute Brain Injury With the NeuroloGical Pupil
Clinical Trial
Procedure
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Study Type: Procedure
  • Participants: 42
  • Start Date: November 1, 2020
the Effects of Manual Abdomino-thoracic Compression Technique in Intracranial Pressure in Mechanically Ventilated Patients With Acute Cerebral Injury