BACKGROUND: Several collateral venous pathways exist to assist in cranial venous drainage in addition to the internal jugular veins. The important extrajugular networks (EJN) are often readily identified on diagnostic cerebral angiography. However, the angiographic pattern of venous drainage through collateral EJN has not been previously compared among patients with and without idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). OBJECTIVE: To quantify EJN on cerebral angiography among patients both with and without IIH and to determine whether there is a different EJN venous drainage pattern in patients with IIH. METHODS: Retrospective imaging review of 100 cerebral angiograms (50 IIH and 50 non-IIH patients) and medical records from a single academic medical center was performed by 2 independent experienced neuroendovascular surgeons. Points were assigned to EJN flow from 0 to 6 using an increasing scale (with each patient's dominant internal jugular vein standardized to 5 points to serve as the internal reference). Angiography of each patient included 11 separately graded extrajugular networks for internal carotid and vertebral artery injections. RESULTS: Patients in the IIH group had statistically significant greater flow in several of the extrajugular networks. Therefore, they preferentially drained through EJN compared with the non-IIH group. Right transverse-sigmoid system was most often dominant in both groups, yet there was a significantly greater prevalence of codominant sinus pattern on posterior circulation angiograms. CONCLUSION: Patients with IIH have greater utilization of EJN compared with patients without IIH. Whether this is merely an epiphenomenon or possesses actual cause-effect relationships needs to be determined with further studies.
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