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J Emerg Med. 2011 Jan;40(1):e5-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2007.11.110. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

Colloid cyst: a case report and literature review of a rare but deadly condition.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA.



Colloid cysts are congenital benign tumors accounting for 0.2-2% of all intracranial neoplasms but representing 15-20% of all intraventricular masses. Emergency Physicians are more likely than any other group to encounter patients with a colloid cyst, a rare but life-threatening condition. The most common presenting complaint is severe episodic attacks of headache in a frontal location with associated nausea and vomiting.


To describe a rare but potentially life-threatening cause of headache so that clinicians will rapidly recognize the significance of the condition and institute timely appropriate therapy.


We describe the case of a 40-year-old man with a severe headache accompanied by confusion who was diagnosed with obstructive hydrocephalus associated with a colloid cyst in the third ventricle.


Recognition of this rare but important diagnosis should prompt the Emergency Physician to obtain timely treatment so that rapid neurologic deterioration, herniation, and death can be prevented. A review of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and current management is discussed.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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