OBJECTIVE: Benign intracranial hypertension (BIH) may be caused by intracranial venous sinus thrombosis. Cerebral angiograms may, however, be normal in patients with BIH that are associated with conditions with an increased risk of venous thrombosis. This raises the possibility that unrecognised non-occlusive venous thrombus might impede CSF drainage. This study therefore examined the strength of the association between risk factors for thrombosis and BIH. METHODS: The incidence of prothrombotic abnormalities among a mixed prospectively and retrospectively investigated cohort of 38 patients with BIH, was compared with healthy obese subjects, and patients with other neurological diseases. Prothrombotic abnormalities investigated included anticardiolipin antibodies, lupus anticoagulant, antithrombin III, proteins C and S, plasma fibrinogen, kaolin cephalin clotting time, prothrombin time, and full blood counts. RESULTS: Evidence for the presence of an antiphospholipid antibody was found in 32% of cases. Cases of familial deficiency of antithrombin III, thrombocytosis, and polycythaemia were also noted. Additionally, an increased concentration of plasma fibrinogen was found in 26%. A coagulation abnormality was more often detectable in those subjects with normal or low body mass index and in those tested within six months of onset. CONCLUSION: There is a thrombotic pathogenesis in some cases of BIH.
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