Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome in Children

  • Rebecca Barmherzig
  • Christina L. SzperkaEmail author
Childhood and Adolescent Headache (S Evers, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Childhood and Adolescent Headache


Purpose of Review

Pseudotumor cerebri syndrome (PTCS) may affect both children and adults; however, the risk factors and clinical presentation vary greatly between these populations. This review aims to highlight the entity of PTCS in children and the unique considerations in this population; review the epidemiology and demographics; discuss the clinical presentation, revised diagnostic criteria, and approach to evaluation; review management strategies; and discuss the prognosis and long-term outcomes in children with PTCS.

Recent Findings

Clinical presentation can be variable in children and may be less obvious than in their adult counterparts. Papilledema can also be challenging to diagnose in this population. The upper limits for opening pressure on lumbar puncture differ in children, with a cut-off of 25 cm H20 (or 28 cm H2O in a sedated or obese child).


Morbidity related to visual loss, pain and reduced quality of life lends urgency towards accurately identifying, evaluating and managing children with PTCS. There are no randomised controlled studies to allow for evidence-based recommendations for the management of PTCS in children. Further studies are needed to clarify and consolidate management approaches in this population.


Pseudotumor cerebri syndrome Idiopathic intracranial hypertension Children Adolescents 



Dr. Szperka receives research funding from the National Institute of Health (K23NS102521). There was no specific funding for this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Barmherzig declares no conflict of interest. Dr. Szperka has received grant support from Pfizer. Allergan provides consulting payments for work done by Dr. Szperka to the CHOP Paediatric Headache Program.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Neurology, Women’s College Hospital Centre for HeadacheUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Neurology, Department of PediatricsThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Pediatric Headache Program, Division of NeurologyChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Neurology, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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