Intracranial pulse pressure amplitude levels determined during preoperative assessment of subjects with possible idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2006 Nov;148(11):1151-6; discussion 1156. doi: 10.1007/s00701-006-0896-0. Epub 2006 Oct 16.


Background: It was previously reported that the intracranial pulse pressure amplitudes were elevated in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) patients responding to shunt surgery. In this study, pulse pressure amplitudes were determined in all patients referred for tentative iNPH, and patients were selected for shunt surgery based on the determination of their threshold levels of intracranial pulse pressure amplitudes.

Patients and methods: All patients referred to our department for tentative iNPH during a 12 months time period were included. Using intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring the intracranial pulse pressure amplitudes were determined as the mean wave amplitude in consecutive 6-seconds time windows. Intracranial pulse pressure amplitudes were defined as being elevated when the mean wave amplitudes were either >or=4 mmHg in >or=70%, >or=5 mmHg in >or=40% or >or=6 mmHg in >or=10% of the ICP recording time. Shunt treatment was offered to those with elevated mean wave amplitudes. Clinical state was assessed by using a NPH Grading Scale and the Stein-Langfitt scale before ICP monitoring, and then repeated after 12 months.

Results: Among the 40 iNPH patients included during the 12 months period, the mean wave amplitudes were elevated in 24 patients (60%), while not being elevated in 16 (40%). Neither pre-operative clinical state, radiological ventricular size nor co-morbidity differed between patient groups with elevated or non-elevated mean wave amplitudes. In the shunted patients who had pre-operatively elevated mean wave amplitudes, 91% had very significant clinical change after 12 months (median change in NPH score +4). In those with non-elevated amplitudes and no shunt, clinical state was somewhat worse after 12 months (median change in NPH score -1).

Conclusions: In this one-year material, mean wave amplitudes were elevated in 60% of iNPH patients. In those with elevated mean wave amplitudes who were treated with shunt, 91% had a significant clinical response.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure / physiology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / diagnosis*
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / physiopathology
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / surgery*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / standards*
  • Patient Selection
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome