Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Increased intracranial pressure

Table of Contents

Alternative Names

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


Symptoms

Infants:

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

Older children and adults:

  • Behavior changes
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Neurological problems
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

Signs and tests

A health care provider will usually make this diagnosis at the patient's bedside in an emergency room or hospital. Primary care doctors may sometimes spot early symptoms of increased intracranial pressure such as headache, seizures, or neurological problems.

An MRI or CT scan of the head can often determine the cause and confirm the diagnosis.

Intracranial pressure may be measured during a spinal tap (lumbar puncture). It can also be measured directly by using a device that is drilled through the skull or a tube (catheter) that is inserted inside the brain.



Review Date: 12/21/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)