Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)
Alternative namesHydrocephalus - idiopathic; Hydrocephalus - adult; Hydrocephalus - communicating, "water on the brain"
Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a brain disorder caused by blockage of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, with enlargement of the ventricles within the brain and compression of the brain tissue. It may result in loss of any or all brain functions controlled by the area of the brain which is compressed.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) can be a reversible or treatable disorder. It is thought to account for about 5% of all dementias . The incidence is 1 out of 100,000 people. NPH can occur at any age. The onset of symptoms is often gradual.
The ventricles of the brain enlarge to accommodate the increased volume of CSF so the pressure of CSF, when measured by lumbar puncture ( spinal tap ), remains normal. Brain tissue is damaged or destroyed because of compression by the fluid-filled ventricles. If there is an identifiable cause and the cause can be corrected, the symptoms may reverse or at least stop getting worse. If there is no identifiable cause, the disorder is often progressive.
SymptomsEarly symptoms include:
Signs and testsAn examination shows gait changes related to the damage within the brain. Deep tendon reflexes may be increased in the lower legs.
TreatmentThe goal of treatment is to improve symptoms. The surgical creation of a shunt that routes the CSF around the obstruction and back into the circulation is the treatment of choice.
Symptomatic treatment may vary depending on the symptoms presented and the extent that symptoms are relieved by treatment.
Expectations (prognosis)Prognosis is poor without medical intervention; symptoms progress and the disorder results in death.
Surgical treatment improves symptoms in about 50% of cases, with the best prognosis (probable outcome) for those with minimal symptoms. Other persons may have varying degrees of disability prior to death.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if symptoms indicate normal pressure hydrocephalus may be present.
Call your health care provider if the condition of a person with NPH deteriorates to the point where you are unable to care for the person in your home.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if a sudden change in mental status occurs (this may indicate development of another disorder).
PreventionTreatment of disorders associated with NPH may prevent its development in some cases. In other cases it may not be preventable, but early treatment may prevent progression to severe symptoms.
Update Date: 5/10/2002Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, M.D., MSc, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT