Falls and Fear of Falling in Shunted Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery 89:122–128, 2021

Gait and balance impairment are typical symptoms of idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH), implicating that falls may afflict these patients.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate falls, related injuries, and associated psychological features, before and after shunt surgery for INPH and compared to the general population.

METHODS: The study included 176 patients shunted for INPH and 368 age- and sexmatched controls. Falls, fear of falling (FOF), fall-related injuries (mild-severe), confidence in avoiding falls (Swedish Falls Efficacy Scale (FES(S)), quality of life (QoL; EuroQoL 5-dimension 5 level instrument), and symptoms of depression (Geriatric Depression Scale 15) were investigated. Pre- and postoperative observational times were 12 mo before surgery and 21 mo after (mean). Recurrent fallers fell ≥2 times.

RESULTS: More INPH patients than controls were recurrent fallers (67% vs 11%; P < .001). They feared falling more often (FOF, mean   standard deviation: 3.3   1.1 vs 1.6   0.9; P < .001) and had lower confidence in avoiding falls (FES(S) 78   40 vs 126   14; P < .001). After surgery, INPH patients improved in all parameters but they did not reach the levels of the controls. Among fallers there was no difference between patients and controls in the severity of injuries suffered. Low QoL and symptoms of depression were more common among recurrent fallers than one-time or nonfallers in both shunted patients and controls (P ≤ .001).

CONCLUSION: Falls, FOF, and low confidence in avoiding falls are considerable problems in INPH that may be reduced by shunt surgery. We suggest that remaining risk of falling and preventative measures are routinely considered in postoperative follow-ups and rehabilitation planning.

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.