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Increased intracranial pressure

  • Definition

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

    Alternative Names

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

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Increased intracranial pressure can be due to a rise in cerebrospinal fluid pressure. It can also be due to increased pressure within the brain matter caused by a mass (such as a tumor), bleeding into the brain or fluid around the brain, or swelling within the brain matter itself.

    An increase in intracranial pressure is a serious medical problem. The pressure itself can damage the brain or spinal cord by pressing on important brain 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
    • Hydrocephalus (increased fluid around the brain)
    • Hypertensive brain hemorrhage
    • Intraventricular hemorrhage
    • Meningitis
    • Severe head injury
    • Subdural hematoma
    • Status epilepticus
    • Stroke