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Table of Contents    
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 982

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension presenting as stiff neck and torticollis

Department of Neurology, Medical College, Calicut, Kerala, India

Date of Acceptance09-Nov-2010
Date of Web Publication10-Dec-2010

Correspondence Address:
Kondanath Saifudheen
Department of Neurology, Medical College, Calicut, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.73765

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How to cite this article:
Saifudheen K. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension presenting as stiff neck and torticollis. Neurol India 2010;58:982

How to cite this URL:
Saifudheen K. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension presenting as stiff neck and torticollis. Neurol India [serial online] 2010 [cited 2023 Jun 7];58:982. Available from:


I read the recent editorial [1] and the two articles [2],[3] on false localizing signs in idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), with great interest. In this context, I would like to document an interesting false localizing sign - stiff neck and torticollis as a presentation of IIH in a prepubertal child.

A nine year-old boy presented with a history of an insidious onset of tilt of head to the right side (torticollis), of one-week duration [Figure 1]. He had a mild, diffuse headache of one-month duration. Physical examination showed torticollis to the right. The neck muscles were stiff and tight, with limited voluntary and passive motions in all directions. The ocular fundus examination showed bilateral papilledema. There was mild left lateral rectus palsy. The cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MR venogram were normal. A lumbar puncture revealed an opening pressure of 270 mm H 2 O, and the cerebrospinal fluid biochemistry and cell count were normal. A diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) was considered and the child was started on mannitol and acetazolamide. Over the next two days, the neck rigidity and pain disappeared and neck movements were fully restored [Figure 2]. Acetazolamide was continued and follow up evaluation after one month showed marked alleviation of the papilledema.
Figure 1: Picture of patient shows torticollis (before anti-edema treatment)

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Figure 2: Patient after two days of anti-edema treatment -resolution of torticollis

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Stiff neck and torticollis is one of the rare presenting features of IIH in prepubertal children. In a retrospective review of 10 prepubertal patients with IIH, the presenting symptom was stiff neck in four patients, all under 11 years of age. [4] The exact mechanism of stiff neck and torticollis in IIH is unknown. The possible explanation is tonsillar herniation with irritation of the upper cervical nerves. IIH should be added to the list of disorders that may present with reversible torticollis.

 » References Top

1.Menon RN, Radhakrishnan K. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension: Are false localising signs other than abducens nerve palsy acceptable? Neurol India 2010;58:683-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
2.Wattamwar PR, Baheti NN, Radhakrishnan A. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension presenting as unilateral papilledema. Neurol India 2010;58:818-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
3.Rezazadeh A, Rohani M. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension with complete oculomotor palsy. Neurol india 2010;58:820-21.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
4.Cinciripini GS, Donahue S, Borchert MS. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension in prepubertal pediatric patients: Characteristics, treatment and outcome. Am J Ophthalmol 1999;127:178-82.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Atypical presentations of idiopathic intracranial hypertension
BensonS Chen, NancyJ Newman, Valerie Biousse
Taiwan Journal of Ophthalmology. 2021; 11(1): 25
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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