Diagnosis and management of idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus
The diagnosis and management of idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH), a disorder of gait impairment, incontinence, and dementia that affects elderly patients, incorporates an organized approach using familiar principles for neurologists. The starting point is a comprehensive history and neurologic examination, review of neuroimaging, and evaluation of the differential diagnosis. Coexisting disorders should be treated before specific iNPH testing is performed. Specific iNPH testing includes assessing patient response to temporary CSF removal and testing CSF hydrodynamics. In properly selected patients, all iNPH symptoms, including dementia, can improve after shunt surgery. The longitudinal care of iNPH patients with shunts includes evaluation of the differential diagnosis of worsening iNPH symptoms and treatment of coexisting disorders. Evaluation of shunt obstruction is often indicated, and if it is found, surgical correction is likely to result in symptomatic improvement.