Volumetric measurements in the detection of reduced ventricular volume in patients with normal-pressure hydrocephalus whose clinical condition improved after ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement

J Neurosurg. 2002 Jul;97(1):73-9. doi: 10.3171/jns.2002.97.1.0073.


Object: The syndrome of normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) refers to the clinical triad of gait disturbance, dementia, and urinary incontinence in association with idiopathic ventriculomegaly and normal intracranial pressure. Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement often yields significant clinical improvements, sometimes without apparent reduction of ventricular size. The authors hypothesized that careful volumetric measurements would show a decrease in ventricular volume in these patients.

Methods: Twenty consecutive patients with NPH underwent placement of VP shunts equipped with programmable valves. In 11 patients pre- and postoperative neuroimaging was performed, which allowed volumetric analysis. Volumetric measurements of the lateral ventricles were calculated in triplicate by National Institutes of Health image-processing software to assess standard computerized tomography (CT) scans (eight patients) or magnetic resonance (MR) images (three patients) obtained before and after shunt placement. Ventricular volumes were also assessed by an independent neuroradiologist. Postoperative studies were performed at a time of clinical improvement, between 1 and 9 months postsurgery (mean 5 months). Preoperative and postoperative Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale evaluations were performed in four patients. Significant clinical improvement occurred in all patients after shunt placement (mean follow-up period 17.5 months). Although 10 (91%) of 11 patients demonstrated a calculable decrease in volume in the lateral ventricles (mean decrease 39%), formal interpretation of neuroimages indicated a definite decrease in lateral ventricular volume in only three (27%) of 11 patients.

Conclusions: Volumetric measurements obtained to compare preoperative and postoperative CT or MR studies obtained in patients with NPH in whom clinical improvement was seen after shunt placement surgery show a demonstrable decrease in ventricular size. Volumetric measurements may be helpful in clinical assessment postoperatively and in guiding programmable valve pressure settings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / pathology*
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / surgery*
  • Male
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt / methods*