Prevalence of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension


Background and Objectives

With the obesity epidemic within the United States, the prevalence of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is predicted to rise. IIH prevalence and racial disparities have rarely been reported in the United States. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of IIH in a large national database while stratifying by sex, age, race, and ethnicity.


This was a cross-sectional epidemiologic evaluation conducted in the TriNetX US Collaborative network using data from 2015 to 2022. Patients with an International Classification of Diseases code of IIH and papilledema or unspecified papilledema were included in the study. Any secondary cause of intracranial hypertension including cerebral neoplasms and hydrocephalus were excluded from the study. IIH trends were later compared with TriNetX cohort obesity trends. Prevalence and prevalence odds ratios (ORs) were calculated in Microsoft Excel and R Studio.


Among 85 million patients in this database, a 1.35 times increase in the prevalence of IIH occurred between 2015 and 2022 from 7.3 (95% CI 6.9–7.7) individuals per 100,000 to 9.9 (95% CI 9.5–10.3) individuals per 100,000 in 2022. In 2022, Black female individuals had the highest prevalence of IIH with 22.7 individuals per 100,000 compared with the 13.7 White female individuals per 100,000. Patients aged 11–17 years showed the largest growth of IIH prevalence with female individuals increasing by 10 individuals per 100,000 by 2022. Overall, Black and Hispanic patients had the largest prevalence OR of IIH at 1.66 (95% CI 1.49–1.85) and 1.33 (95% CI 1.14–1.56), respectively, compared with White female patients.


IIH is a rapidly increasing health care concern for the US population, particularly among adolescent patients. Black and Hispanic female individuals are most predominately affected by this incapacitating disorder.
Check out this expert review regarding my work written by Neuro-Ophthalmologist Dr. Valeria Biousse:

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