Comparison Between Flow-Regulated and Gravitational Shunt Valves in the Treatment of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: Flow-Grav Study

Neurosurgery 89:413–419, 2021

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is frequently treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) surgery. However, VPS implantation can lead to overdrainage and complications such as headaches, hygroma, and subdural hematoma due to a siphon effect in an upright position. Gravitational valves prevent overdrainage through positiondependent adjustment of valve resistance. Flow-regulated valves that increase resistance in presence of high cerebrospinal fluid flow may provide similar protection against overdrainage and present an alternative to gravitational valves.

OBJECTIVE: To compare gravitational and flow-regulated shunt valves in patients with symptomatic NPH.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of 97 patients suffering from NPH who underwent VPS implantation with a gravitational or a flow-regulated valve. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of hygroma or subdural hematoma. Secondary endpoints were neurological outcome (Kiefer score, Stein and Langfitt score, and NPH recovery rate), frequency of valve adjustments, and reoperations.

RESULTS: No significant differences in the occurrence of hygroma and subdural hematoma (11.4% for flow-regulated valves vs 5.7% for gravitational valves, P = .462) or response to treatment (77.3% vs 81.1%, P = .802) were found. Patients with flow-regulated valves required fewer valve adjustments (1.12 vs 2.02, P < .001) to reach their optimal neurological outcome and underwent fewer surgical revisions (11.4% vs 28.3%, P = .047).

CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that shunt therapy in NPH patients with a flow-regulated instead of a gravitational valve is safe and effective with a comparable clinical outcome and risk of overdrainage complications. Moreover, patients with flow-regulated valves may need fewer valve adjustments and reoperations.

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.

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)

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.