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J Neurosurg. 2005 Sep;103(3):455-63.

Good outcome in patients with normal-pressure hydrocephalus and factors indicating poor prognosis.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.



The authors set out to describe the outcome in a subgroup of patients with normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) in whom prognostic factors were poor. This subgroup of patients who had received shunts was selected according to strict criteria.


From a cohort of 56 patients with NPH in whom shunts were placed, the authors selected a subgroup with four of the factors traditionally considered to indicate poor prognosis: idiopathic type, cortical atrophy, longstanding symptoms, and presence of dementia in addition to old age. Twelve patients met the inclusion criteria. After receiving shunts, 92% of the patients showed clinical improvement on the NPH scale; gait improved in 100% of patients, sphincter control in 90%, and dementia in 33%. Improvement was significant for gait and sphincter control, general NPH score, and most daily life activity scales. No significant differences regarding clinical, cognitive, or functional changes following surgery were found in comparison with the rest of patients (the good prognosis subgroup).


The clinical condition of patients with NPH who present with traditionally accepted markers of poor prognosis can improve after surgery, especially as regards gait and sphincter control. The authors assert that the presence of these markers should not be considered to be an absolute criterion for ruling out shunt surgery in cases of NPH syndrome.

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