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Volume 12 Supplement 1

Abstracts from Hydrocephalus 2015

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Clinical signs and symptoms of adult patients with intracranial arachnoid cysts


Patients with arachnoid cysts have a wide range of symptoms from asymptomatic to a variety of symptoms and signs. Indication for surgical treatment can be challenging in case of the most common symptoms; headache and vertigo which are both subjective and common. The aim of this prospective study was to describe variety of symptoms in relation to cyst location and volume and their response to treatment.


112 adults 46,6 y (18-77 y) with de novo cysts were prospectively included and evaluated through our hydrocephalus research unit with extensive test battery including neurological-, neuropsychological-, motor function testing and MRI. After evaluation, 76 patients were offered surgery. 54 accepted and 22 declined. 33 patients were regarded asymptomatic. Operated patients were followed up 3 months after surgery with the same test battery. Cyst volume was measured with OsiriX® software.


There was no significant difference in MMSE, frequency of head trauma or length of education between operated patients, those who declined or were asymptomatic. Asymptomatic patients had a significantly lower cyst volume, 18 ml (1-88), compared to those who were offered surgery 47 ml (3-223). Headache and dizziness was as prevalent in asymptomatic patients as the operated ones. In operated patients, headache improved significantly (p<0,05) 3 months after surgery. Cyst volume reduced to 31 ml (0-282, p<0,001) 3 months after surgery. Cyst volume reduced further to 29 ml (0-279, p<0,001) 1 year postoperatively. 43 patients considered themselves improved in at least one major symptom after 3 months. 9 patients were the same and 2 worse. In 22 (41%) patients at least one major symptom ceased completely. Clinical and radiological improvement did not correlate.


80% of patients experienced an improvement in at least one major symptom 3 months after surgery. Clinical improvement did not correlate with reduction in cyst volume.

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Correspondence to Katrin KM Rabiei.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Rabiei, K.K., Medina, R.D., Högfeldt, M. et al. Clinical signs and symptoms of adult patients with intracranial arachnoid cysts. Fluids Barriers CNS 12 (Suppl 1), O37 (2015).

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