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J Neurosurg. 2009 Sep;111(3):610-7. doi: 10.3171/2008.10.17676.

A prospective study of cerebral blood flow and cerebrovascular reactivity to acetazolamide in 162 patients with idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Yokohama Minami Kyosai Hospital, Yokohama, Japan.



Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) to acetazolamide were investigated prospectively in 162 patients with a proposed diagnosis of idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). The aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of the measurement of CBF and CVR in determining which patients would be likely to benefit from shunt placement.


The mean CBF of the whole brain was measured according to the Patlak plot method by using technetium-99m hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime. The CVR value was obtained from the response to administration of 500 mg acetazolamide and calculated as the percentage change from the baseline mean CBF value.


One hundred forty-six patients (90.1%) responded to shunt placement ("responders"), but 16 patients (9.9%) did not ("nonresponders"). No significant difference in preoperative CBF was observed between responders and nonresponders. Preoperative CVR was significantly impaired (p<0.0025) in responders compared with healthy controls, but not in nonresponders. Responders with the incomplete triad had a significant reduction (p<0.001) in preoperative CVR, but not in preoperative CBF, compared with healthy controls. Responders with the complete triad had significantly lower preoperative CBF and CVR than those with the incomplete triad (p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively). Postoperative CBF and CVR increased significantly (p<0.025 and p<0.001, respectively) in responders.


Both CBF and CVR decrease with the development of NPH, suggesting that hemodynamic ischemia may be responsible for manifestation of the symptoms. Impaired CVR and reduced CBF with the development of symptoms can be proposed as diagnostic criteria for idiopathic NPH.

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