Shunt freedom and clinical resolution of idiopathic intracranial hypertension after bariatric surgery in the pediatric population: report of 3 cases
Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, Ahead of Print.
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), formerly known as pseudotumor cerebri, is a disease of elevated intracranial pressure that is thought to develop due to impaired CSF absorption related to elevated venous sinus pressure in the setting of increased intraabdominal and thoracic pressures. Symptoms can be disabling and, if left untreated, can lead to permanent visual loss. Previous treatments directed toward vision preservation include CSF diversion through shunting and optic nerve sheath fenestration. Recently, attention has been turned toward surgical weight loss strategies as an alternative to shunt treatment. The authors present a report of 3 patients with adolescent-onset IIH that was treated at the authors’ institution (Duke University) in whom bariatric surgery was pursued successfully. The patients had previously undergone CSF shunting at ages 12, 15, and 23 years. They were shunt dependent for a collective average of 3.3 years prior to bariatriwc surgery. All patients reported “low-pressure” or postural headaches after bariatric surgery that correlated with dramatic reduction in their weight. Two of the 3 patients had their shunts removed and continued to be shunt free 1.5 years later at last follow-up; the third patient remained shunt dependent with the pressure set at 200 mm H2O. Given the significant complications inherent to multiple shunt revisions, earlier intervention for weight loss, including bariatric surgery, in these patients might have prevented complications and the associated health care burden. The authors recommend a multidisciplinary approach for IIH treatment with early consideration for weight loss interventions in select patients.