Increased intracranial pressure is a rise in the pressure inside the skull that can result from or cause brain injury.
ICP – raised; Intracranial pressure – raised; Intracranial hypertension; Acute increased intracranial pressure; Sudden increased intracranial pressure
Increased intracranial pressure can be due to a rise in pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Increase in intracranial pressure can also be due to a rise in pressure within the brain itself. This can be caused by a mass (such as a tumor), bleeding into the brain or fluid around the brain, or swelling within the brain itself.
An increase in intracranial pressure is a serious medical problem. The pressure 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:
Aneurysmrupture and subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Brain tumor
Encephalitis Head injury Hydrocephalus(increased fluid around the brain)
- Hypertensive brain hemorrhage
- Intraventricular hemorrhage
Meningitis Subdural hematoma Status epilepticus Stroke
Separated sutureson the skull
- Bulging of the soft spot on top of the head (bulging fontanelle)
Older children and adults:
Decreased consciousness Headache
- Neurological symptoms, including weakness, numbness, eye movement problems, and double vision
Exams 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 other nervous system problems.
Intracranial pressure may be measured during a
Sudden increased intracranial pressure is an emergency. The person will be treated in the intensive care unit of the hospital. The health care team will measure and monitor the patient’s neurological and vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
Treatment may include:
Draining of cerebrospinal fluid to lower pressure in the brain
Medicines to decrease swelling
Removal of part of the skull, especially in the first 2 days of a stroke that involves brain swelling
If a tumor, hemorrhage, or other problem has caused the increase in intracranial pressure, these problems will be treated.
Sudden increased intracranial pressure is a serious and often life-threatening condition. Prompt treatment results in better outlook.
If the increased pressure pushes on important brain structures and blood vessels, it can lead to serious, permanent problems or even death.
- Permanent neurological problems
- Reversible neurological problems
This condition usually cannot be prevented. If you have a persistent headache, blurred vision, changes in your level of alertness, neurological problems, or seizures, seek medical help as soon as possible.
Related:Ventriculoperitoneal shunt – discharge, Central nervous system, Head injury – first aid, Subdural hematoma , Meningitis