Journal of Medical Case Reports 2010, 4:60doi:10.1186/1752-1947-4-60
19 February 2010
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension can rarely be associated with an underlying endocrine disorder such as Cushing's syndrome, hyperthyroidism, or with administration of thyroxine or growth hormone. Though cases of idiopathic intracranial hypertension associated with Addison's disease in children have been reported, there is only one documented case report of this association in adults. We describe a case of an acute adrenal insufficiency precipitated by idiopathic intracranial hypertension in a Caucasian female.
A 24-year-old Caucasian woman was acutely unwell with a background of several months of generalised fatigue and intermittent headaches. She had unremarkable neurological and systemic examination with a normal computerised tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. Normal cerebrospinal fluid but increased opening pressure at lumbar puncture suggested intracranial hypertension. A flat short synacthen test and raised level of adrenocorticotrophic hormone were consistent with primary adrenal failure.
Addison's disease can remain unrecognised until precipitated by acute stress. This case suggests that idiopathic intracranial hypertension can rarely be associated with Addison's disease and present as an acute illness. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is possibly related to an increase in the levels of arginine vasopressin peptide in serum and cerebrospinal fluid secondary to a glucocorticoid deficient state.