The Significance of Arachnoid Granulation in Patients With Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

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The aim of this article was to study the significance of arachnoid granulations (AGs) in patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).


In an institutional review board–approved retrospective chart review study, 79 patients with clinical diagnosis of idiopathic increased intracranial pressure were compared with 63 patients with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Inclusion criteria also included available magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, older than 18 years, and female sex. Patients with elevated intracranial pressure due to other causes were excluded. The electronic medical records were mined for presence of the following: body mass index, age, headache, vision changes, tinnitus, and vertigo. The MRI of the brain was reviewed for the presence of the following features: empty sella, prominent cerebrospinal fluid space in the optic sheaths, tortuosity of the optic nerves and enlarged Meckel cave. In addition, the number, size, and location of AGs associated with major venous drainage sinuses were documented in all patients. Using statistical analysis, association between various imaging and clinical signs were evaluated.


The association between AG and various imaging and clinical signs were evaluated. The percentage of patients with AG were significantly higher in patients with IIH. Patients with IIH tended to have 0 to 3 AG. The most common imaging findings observed in MRI of the brain of patients with IIH were empty sella and prominent cerebrospinal fluid space in the optic sheaths. The prevalence of these MRI findings in patients with IIH was inversely proportional to the number of AG. A similar inverse trend was also noted with the opening pressure of patients with IIH and number of AG.


The study establishes that there is a relationship between presence of AG and IIH. Arachnoid granulation seems to act in a compensatory mechanism in patients with IIH.

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