Introduction: Adult idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is often linked to obesity, however, causes of IIH in children are not well understood. This project identifies potential risk factors and features of pediatric IIH. Methods: This study consisted of a retrospective chart review of patients ages 5–17 years who were seen at a tertiary care children’s hospital and diagnosed with IIH. Diagnostic criteria included the presence of papilledema, normal neurological exam, normal neuroimaging, normal cerebrospinal fluid composition, and an opening pressure of a lumbar puncture >28 mmHg. Results: Of the 26 cases of IIH, 19 met all diagnostic criteria for this study, while seven patients were probable IIH, as they lacked papilledema. Intracranial pressure ranged from 28 to 66 mmHg, with a mean of 40.23 mmHg (±10.74). Overall, 50.0% (95% CI: 29.9–70.1%) of IIH patients were obese, with patients 12 years of age and younger exhibiting an overall obesity rate of 30.7% and patients 13 years of age and older having an obesity rate of 69.2%. The overall allergy rate in this IIH patient population was 46.2% (95% CI: 26.6–66.6%). Conclusion: Obesity appears to have no association with IIH in younger cases, but it is a more common feature in older children. An autoimmune component may play a role in pediatric IIH, given the high rate of atopy observed in this pediatric IIH patient cohort. Because a diagnosis of IIH can have an absence of optic nerve edema, taking a detailed history and performing a thorough examination are keys to diagnosing IIH in the pediatric population.
- Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
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