Comparison of the CSF dynamics between patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus and healthy volunteers

J Neurosurg 131:1018–1023, 2019

Intracranial pressure (ICP), outflow resistance (R out ), and amplitude of cardiac-related ICP pulsations (AMPs) are established parameters to describe the CSF hydrodynamic system and are assumed, but not confirmed, to be disturbed in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH). The aim of this study was to compare the CSF hydrodynamic profile between patients with INPH and healthy volunteers.

METHODS Sixty-two consecutive INPH patients (mean age 74 years) and 40 healthy volunteers (mean age 70 years) were included. Diagnosis was made by two independent neurologists who assessed patients’ history, neurological status, and MRI studies. A CSF dynamic investigation through the lumbar route was performed: ICP and other CSF dynamic variables were blinded to the neurologists during the diagnostic process and were not used for establishing the diagnosis of INPH.

RESULTS R out was significantly higher in INPH (R out 17.1 vs 11.1; p < 0.001), though a substantial number of INPH subjects had normal R out . There were no differences between INPH patients and controls regarding ICP (mean 11.5 mm Hg). At resting pressure, there was a trend that AMP in INPH was increased (2.4 vs 2.0 mm Hg; p = 0.109). The relationship between AMP and ICP was that they shared the same slope, but the curve was significantly shifted to the left for INPH (reduced P 0 [p < 0.05]; i.e., higher AMP for the same ICP).

CONCLUSIONS This study established that the CSF dynamic profile of INPH deviates from that of healthy volunteers and that INPH should thus be regarded as a disease in which intracranial hydrodynamics are part of the pathophysiology.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01188382 (clinicaltrials.gov)