Raised intracranial pressure is a well-known complication of Apert syndrome. The current policy in the authors’ unit is to monitor these patients and only perform surgery when raised intracranial pressure has been diagnosed. The authors present their experience with this protocol, as it allows a more accurate picture of the natural history of raised intracranial pressure in Apert syndrome.Methods:
The records of 24 patients, aged between 7 and 14 years, with Apert syndrome who had been managed expectantly (i.e., with no routine “automatic” early surgery) were reviewed. Data were collected on the incidence, timing, and management of raised intracranial pressure.Results:
Twenty of 24 patients (83 percent) developed raised intracranial pressure. The average age of the first episode was 18 months (range, 1 month to 4 years 5 months). Raised intracranial pressure was managed with surgery in 18 patients, including two patients who underwent shunt procedures for hydrocephalus. Two patients had their raised intracranial pressure treated successfully by correcting coexisting upper airway obstruction alone. Seven of the 20 patients (35 percent) developed a second episode of raised intracranial pressure, on average 3 years 4 months later (range, 1 year 11 months to 5 years 9 months).Conclusions:
In Apert syndrome, there is a high incidence of raised intracranial pressure, which can first occur at any age up to 5 years and may recur despite initial successful treatment. Causes of raised intracranial pressure include craniocerebral disproportion, venous hypertension, upper airway obstruction, and hydrocephalus. Careful clinical, ophthalmologic, respiratory, and radiologic monitoring will allow raised intracranial pressure to be diagnosed accurately when it occurs and then treated most appropriately.