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Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a condition where the pressure inside your skull is higher than normal.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Migraine medicine: This may help decrease how much CSF you produce. This will help relieve pressure in your skull.
  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
  • Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain. You can buy acetaminophen without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Diuretics: This medicine helps decrease extra fluid that collects in your body. This will help lower the pressure in your skull. Diuretics are often called water pills. You may urinate more often when you take this medicine.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.

Tests:

  • Eye exam: Your healthcare provider will check your vision and examine your eye. He may dilate your pupil and use a microscope with a strong light to look into your eyes. He may use a dye and take pictures of the inside of your eye. The dye helps the blood vessels in your eye show up better.
  • Neuro exam: Your healthcare provider will check how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory, your hand grasp, and your balance.
  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your head. The pictures may show fluid buildup and other problems. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your head. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Lumbar puncture: This is a procedure where a needle is inserted in your back and into the spinal canal. This test will show how high the pressure is inside your skull. CSF may be collected and sent to a lab for tests. Healthcare providers may also drain CSF to relieve pressure and ease your headache.

Treatments:

  • Optic nerve sheath surgery: A small opening is made in the sheath (cover) around the optic nerve. This allows extra CSF to drain and relieve eye pressure.
  • Spinal fluid shunt: A shunt (passageway) is placed your brain or spinal cord to drain extra CSF into another area of the body. This helps relieve pressure in your skull.

RISKS:

Even with treatment, your symptoms may return. If you have surgery, you could bleed more than expected. You may develop an infection. You may need another surgery to help relieve your symptoms. Without treatment, the pressure in your skull may continue to increase. This can cause severe headaches. Your vision may get worse and you may go blind.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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