Learn About Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

What is the definition of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a buildup of spinal fluid inside the fluid chambers of the brain. Hydrocephalus means "water on the brain."

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a rise in the amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain that affects brain function. However, the pressure of the fluid is usually normal.

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What are the alternative names for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus - occult; Hydrocephalus - idiopathic; Hydrocephalus - adult; Hydrocephalus - communicating; Dementia - hydrocephalus; NPH

What are the causes of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

There is no known cause for NPH. But the chance of developing NPH is high in someone who has had any of the following:

  • Bleeding from a blood vessel or aneurysm in the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage)
  • Certain head injuries
  • Meningitis or similar infections
  • Surgery on the brain (craniotomy)

As CSF builds up in the brain, the fluid-filled chambers (ventricles) of the brain swell. This causes pressure on brain tissue. This can damage or destroy parts of the brain.

What are the symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Symptoms of NPH often begin slowly. There are three main symptoms of NPH:

  • Changes in the way a person walks: difficulty when beginning to walk (gait apraxia), feeling as if your feet are stuck to the ground (magnetic gait)
  • Slowing of mental function: forgetfulness, difficulty paying attention, apathy or no mood
  • Problems controlling urine (urinary incontinence), and sometimes controlling stools (bowel incontinence)

Diagnosis of NPH can be made if any of the above symptoms occur and NPH is suspected and testing is done.

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What are the current treatments for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Treatment for NPH is usually surgery to place a tube called a shunt that routes the excess CSF out of the brain ventricles and into the abdomen. This is called a ventriculoperitoneal shunt.

Who are the top Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
20
conditions
Neurosurgery

Rhode Island Hospital

Providence, RI 

Petra Klinge is a Neurosurgery doctor in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Klinge has been practicing medicine for over 29 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. She is also highly rated in 20 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Tethered Cord Syndrome, and Cerebellum Agenesis Hydrocephaly. She is board certified in Neurosurgery and licensed to treat patients in Rhode Island. Dr. Klinge is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
24
conditions
Neurosurgery

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Baltimore, MD 

Mark Luciano is a Neurosurgery doctor in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Luciano has been practicing medicine for over 37 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. He is also highly rated in 24 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Chiari Malformation Type 1, and Chiari Malformation. He is board certified in Neurosurgery and licensed to treat patients in Maryland and Ohio. Dr. Luciano is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
11
conditions
Neurosurgery

Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester, MN 

Benjamin Elder is a Neurosurgery doctor in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Elder has been practicing medicine for over 12 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. He is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Congenital Cardiovascular Shunt, and Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome. He is board certified in Neurosurgery and licensed to treat patients in Minnesota. Dr. Elder is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Without treatment, symptoms often get worse and could lead to death.

Surgery improves symptoms in some people. Those with mild symptoms have the best outcome. Walking is the symptom most likely to improve.

What are the possible complications of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Problems that may result from NPH or its treatment include:

  • Complications of surgery (infection, bleeding, shunt that does not work well)
  • Loss of brain function (dementia) that becomes worse over time
  • Injury from falls
  • Shortened life span
When should I contact a medical professional for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Call your provider if:

  • You or a loved one is having increasing problems with memory, walking, or urine incontinence.
  • A person with NPH worsens to the point where you are unable to care for the person yourself.

Go to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number if a sudden change in mental status occurs. This may mean that another disorder has developed.

Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
Ventricles of the brain
What are the latest Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Clinical Trials?
Mapping Functional Networks of Brain Activity (Brain Network Activation, BNA) Based on Analysis of Evoked Response Potential (ERP) EEG Signals in Patients With Movement Disorders
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Volumetrics and Proteomics in Shunted Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
What are the Latest Advances for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?
Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Presenting as Psychosis.
Reduced default mode network connectivity relative to white matter integrity is associated with poor cognitive outcomes in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus.
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Sterile cerebrospinal fluid ascites, hydrothorax and hydrocele as a complication of ventriculoperitoneal shunting in an elderly patient.
What are our references for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Rosenberg GA. Brain edema and disorders of cerebrospinal fluid circulation. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 88.

Sivakumar W, Drake JM, Riva-Cambrin J. The role of third ventriculostomy in adults and children : a critical review. In: Winn HR, ed. Youmans and Winn Neurological Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 32.

Williams MA, Malm J. Diagnosis and treatment of idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2016; 22(2 Dementia):579-599. PMCID: PMC5390935 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390935/.