Association between shunt-responsive idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus and alcohol

J Neurosurg 127:240–248, 2017

Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is characterized by ventriculomegaly, gait difficulty, incontinence, and dementia. The symptoms can be ameliorated by CSF drainage. The object of this study was to identify factors associated with shunt-responsive iNPH.

METHODS The authors reviewed the medical records of 529 patients who underwent shunt placement for iNPH at their institution between July 2001 and March 2015. Variables associated with shunt-responsive iNPH were identified using bivariate and multivariate analyses. Detailed alcohol consumption information was obtained for 328 patients and was used to examine the relationship between alcohol and shunt-responsive iNPH. A computerized patient registry from 2 academic medical centers was queried to determine the prevalence of alcohol abuse among 1665 iNPH patients.

RESULTS Bivariate analysis identified associations between shunt-responsive iNPH and gait difficulty (OR 4.59, 95% CI 2.32–9.09; p < 0.0001), dementia (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.14–2.80; p = 0.01), incontinence (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.13–2.76; p = 0.01), and alcohol use (OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.23–3.16; p = 0.03). Borderline significance was observed for hyperlipidemia (OR 1.56, 95% CI 0.99–2.45; p = 0.054), a family history of hyperlipidemia (OR 3.09, 95% CI 0.93–10.26, p = 0.054), and diabetes (OR 1.83, 95% CI 0.96–3.51; p = 0.064). Multivariate analysis identified associations with gait difficulty (OR 3.98, 95% CI 1.81–8.77; p = 0.0006) and alcohol (OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.10–3.39; p = 0.04). Increased alcohol intake correlated with greater improvement after CSF drainage. Alcohol abuse was 2.5 times more prevalent among iNPH patients than matched controls.

CONCLUSIONS Alcohol consumption is associated with the development of shunt-responsive iNPH.