Intracranial hypertension in systemic lupus erythematosus

Sarita Dave, Reid Longmuir, Vinay A. Shah, Michael Wall, Andrew G. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: Intracranial hypertension (IH) mimicking pseudotumor cerebri (i.e., idiopathic IH) has been reported in individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) since the 1960s. Although various mechanisms have been proposed (e.g., venous thrombosis, medication side effect, and immunologic or inflammatory disease) none have been proven to be causal. Methods: Retrospective chart review of patients with IH and SLE at a single tertiary care institution. Results: In a cohort of IIH patients the percentage of patients in our study with SLE was 1% (4 in 410). Three out of the four patients had serologic evidence for a hypercoagulable state but only one had cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. Two patients had onset or worsening of IH in close temporal relationship to steroid withdrawal. The course, treatment, and prognosis of our patients with SLE and intracranial hypertension did not differ significantly from our clinical experience with IIH or with the published natural history data for IIH. Conclusions: The association of SLE and IH may occur more than by chance alone. Steroid withdrawal in the treatment of the SLE may be a predisposing or precipitating factor in the development of IH in these patients rather than the inflammatory effects of SLE per se. The hypercoagulable state in some patients with SLE may also produce cerebral venous sinus thrombosis as an additional potential mechanism of IH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Intracranial hypertension
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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