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Table of Contents    
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 493

Intermittent herniation of brain causing intermittent cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea

Department of Neurology, Medical College, Calicut, India

Date of Submission01-May-2011
Date of Decision16-May-2011
Date of Acceptance16-May-2011
Date of Web Publication7-Jul-2011

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

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.82717

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How to cite this article:
Saifudheen K. Intermittent herniation of brain causing intermittent cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea. Neurol India 2011;59:493

How to cite this URL:
Saifudheen K. Intermittent herniation of brain causing intermittent cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea. Neurol India [serial online] 2011 [cited 2021 Aug 2];59:493. Available from:


I read with interest the article 'Intermittent herniation of brain: A rare cause of intermittent cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea.' [1] I have a few concerns: The authors presume that intermittent cerebral herniation is leading to intermittent cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea but have not taken sufficient pains to exclude idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), which has important role in the mechanism of herniation and its management. One of the most common cause of spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea is IIH, even though IIH presenting as CSF rhinorrhea is rare. [2]

In IIH, the long-standing effect of pulsatile CSF under high pressure leads to expansion and eventual rupture of the arachnoid sleeve surrounding the olfactory filaments which pass through the pits in the cribriform plate, resulting CSF rhinorrhea. So during high pressure, gyrus rectus may herniate. Once pressure is relived by the CSF rhinorrhea, the hernia may resolve. Moreover, to exclude IIH, the authors have quoted a study that showed that empty sella has a 60% incidence [3] in spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea and 76% incidence in females with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea; however, the CSF pressure was not measured in this study.

Interestingly, empty sella has a 100% incidence in spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea in another study and the authors of that study concluded that empty sella probably represents a sign of elevated intracranial pressure, which leads to idiopathic spontaneous CSF leaks. [4] The most likely theory for the development of an empty sella is that it is due to impaired CSF absorption. Approximately 80% of patients with empty sella have obstruction to normal CSF absorption at the arachnoid villi. [4] Maira et al. showed elevated intracranial pressure in 73% patients with idiopathic empty sella. [5] Therefore, in any case of spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea with some features of IIH on magnetic resonance imaging, the CSF pressure should be measured even if there is no clinical suspicion of IIH.

 » References Top

1.Sen A, Kesavadas C. Intermittent herniation of brain: A rare cause of intermittent cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea. Neurol India 2011;59:131-2.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Saifudheen K, Gafoor A, Arun G, Abdurahiman P, Jose J. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension presenting as CSF rhinorrhea. Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2010;13:72-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.Schuknecht B, Simmen D, Briner HR, Holzmann D. Nontraumatic skull base defects with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea and arachnoid herniation: Imaging findings and correlation with endoscopic sinus surgery in 27 patients. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2008;29:542-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Schlosser RJ, Bolger WE. Significance of empty sella in cerebrospinal fluid leaks. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2003;128:32-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Maira G, Anile C, Cioni B, Menini E, Mancini A, De Marinis L, et al. Relationships between intracranial pressure and diurnal prolactin secretion in primary empty sella. Neuroendocrinology 1984;38:102-7.  Back to cited text no. 5

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Sen, A., Kesavdas, C.
Neurology India. 2011; 59(3): 493-494


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