Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunting Improves Long-Term Quality of Life in Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery, Volume 86, Issue 4, April 2020: 574–582

The short- and long-term impact of cerebrospinal fluid shunting on quality of life (QoL) in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH) is poorly understood.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate QoL in shunted INPH patients compared to the population and to investigate which factors influence QoL in INPH.

METHODS: INPH patients consecutively shunted in Sweden during 2008-2010 were scrutinized. Population-based controls were age- and sex-matched to the patients. Included participants were the following:176 INPH patients and 368controls.QoLwas assessed using the EuroQol 5-dimension 5-level (EQ5D5L) instrument, which measures overall QoL and health status in 5 dimensions. Independency (accommodation and/or need for in-home care) and comorbidities were assessed. Patients were followed up 6-45 mo after surgery (mean follow-up time: 21 mo).

RESULTS: Shunting improved QoL (P < .001) and health status in all dimensions (P < .005). Shunted INPH patients had lower QoL than controls (P < .001). The patients’health status in mobility, self-care, daily activities, and anxiety/depression was worse than the controls both before and after surgery (P < .001). The main predictors of low QoL in INPH were symptoms of depression (P < .001) and severity of gait disturbance (P = .001). Fewer INPH patients than controls lived independently (45% vs 85%, P < .001). Time after shunting had no influence on QoL.

CONCLUSION: QoL remains improved in shunted INPH patients at a mean follow-up time of 21 mo, but the patients do not reach the same QoL as the population. Symptoms of depression and severity of gait disturbance are the strongest predictors of low QoL in INPH.