Research Article| Volume 367, P247-255, August 15, 2016

Increased pulsatile intracranial pressure in patients with symptomatic pineal cysts and magnetic resonance imaging biomarkers indicative of central venous hypertension


      • Pulsatile ICP was increased in symptomatic individuals with a non-hydrocephalic PC.
      • Pulsatile ICP and tectum-splenium-cyst ratio correlated positively.
      • Tectum-splenium-cyst ratio and an index of thalamic edema correlated positively.
      • Venous obstruction in pineal recess may cause central venous hypertension syndrome.



      In symptomatic individuals with non-hydrocephalic pineal cysts (PCs), it remains controversial what causes the symptoms. Based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) biomarkers, we proposed that PC-associated crowding of the pineal recess may cause central venous hypertension. The aim of this study was to compare pulsatile and static ICP in patients with PCs and chronic daily headache (CDH), and compare ICP data in PC patients with the previously identified MRI biomarkers.


      All patients assessed with over-night ICP monitoring for PCs or CDH who had been ruled out for idiopathic intracranial hypertension without papilledema (IIHWOP) were retrieved from the database. The symptoms as well as the pulsatile and static ICP scores were compared between the PC and CDH patients, and ICP scores were compared with the MRI biomarkers indicative of central venous hypertension.


      The pulsatile ICP was significantly increased in the symptomatic patients with non-hydrocephalic PCs as compared to the CDH patients. Pulsatile ICP was significantly increased in the individuals with PC-grades 3–4, who had MRI biomarkers indicative of central venous hypertension. The tectum-splenium-cyst ratio correlated positively with pulsatile ICP and an index of thalamic edema.


      Pulsatile ICP is increased in symptomatic patients with PCs and imaging evidence of central venous hypertension, supporting the hypothesis that PC-induced crowding of the pineal recess and venous obstruction may cause a central venous hypertension syndrome.


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