Learn About Increased Intracranial Pressure

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.

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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 of 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 within 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
  • Brain injury following a cardiac arrest
  • Clots in the veins of the brain (sinus thrombosis)
What are the symptoms of 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
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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.

Who are the top Increased Intracranial Pressure Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
16
conditions
Ophthalmology
Neurology

Emory Healthcare

Emory Eye Center

1365 Clifton Rd Ne 
Atlanta, GA 30322

Valerie Biousse is an Ophthalmologist and a Neurologist in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Biousse has been practicing medicine for over 34 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Increased Intracranial Pressure. She is also highly rated in 16 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome, Increased Intracranial Pressure, Papilledema, and Retinal Artery Occlusion. She is licensed to treat patients in Georgia. Dr. Biousse is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
14
conditions
Neurology
General Surgery

Stanford Health Care

Neuro-Ophthalmology

2452 Watson Ct 
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Heather Moss is a Neurologist and a General Surgeon in Palo Alto, California. Dr. Moss has been practicing medicine for over 17 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Increased Intracranial Pressure. She is also highly rated in 14 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome, Increased Intracranial Pressure, Papilledema, and Optic Neuritis. She is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California. Dr. Moss is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
16
conditions
Neurosurgery
General Surgery

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist

Wake Forest University Health Sciences

Medical Center Blvd 
Winston Salem, NC 27157

Kyle Fargen is a Neurosurgery specialist and a General Surgeon in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Fargen has been practicing medicine for over 14 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Increased Intracranial Pressure. He is also highly rated in 16 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome, Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Aneurysm, and Stroke. He is licensed to treat patients in North Carolina. Dr. Fargen is currently accepting new patients.

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.

Long-lasting increased intracranial pressure (such as with idiopathic increased intracranial hemorrhage) can result in permanent vision loss.

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.

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What are the Latest Advances for Increased Intracranial Pressure?
The Effect of Optic Nerve Sheath Fenestration on Intraocular Pressure in Patients With Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.
Current Indications for Management Options in Pseudotumor Cerebri.
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : May 04, 2021
Published By : Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

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. St Louis, MO: 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.

O'Reilly G, Cameron P. Neurotrauma. In: Cameron P, Little M, Mitra B, Deasy C, eds. Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 3.2.