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Brain Behav. 2017 Mar 28;7(5):e00677. doi: 10.1002/brb3.677. eCollection 2017 May.

Cardiovascular risk factors in Chiari malformation and idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

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Department of Neurosurgery Oslo University Hospital-Rikshospitalet Oslo Norway.
Faculty of Medicine University of Oslo Oslo Norway.
Oslo Centre of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Oslo University Hospital Oslo Norway.



Both Chiari malformation type 1 (CMI, i.e., the idiopathic caudal ectopy of cerebellar tonsils into foramen magnum) and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) are characterized by reduced intracranial compliance (ICC) due to disturbed circulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). An increasing body of evidence links cardiovascular disease to CSF circulation disturbances. The aim of this study was to explore whether the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with CMI or IIH is higher than in the general population.


Among the patients with CMI or IIH treated at our department during the period 2003-2014, we identified those with history of arterial hypertension (AH), myocardial infarction (MI), angina pectoris (AP), or diabetes mellitus (DM). For comparison with a control population, we retrieved information about the prevalence of AH, MI, AP, and DM among participants of the North-Trøndelag Health Study 3 (HUNT3).


Data from 48 CMI and 52 IIH cases were available. Compared to data from the 42,461 individuals participating in the HUNT3, we found increased prevalence of DM in male CMI as well as female IIH cases, and of AH in female IIH cases. Body mass index (BMI) was significantly increased in both female and male IIH cases. Prevalence of MI and AP in the CMI and IIH cohorts was extremely low and therefore not further studied.


This study provided evidence of an increased prevalence of DM in male CMI as well as female IIH cases and of AH in female IIH cases. Although requiring further exploration, these findings point to AH and DM as potential risk factors in the pathophysiology of CMI and IIH.


Chiari malformation type I; HUNT 3; arterial hypertension; diabetes; idiopathic intracranial hypertension

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