Increased intracranial pressure

  • 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.