The goal of this study was to characterize long-term social and functional outcomes in adults treated for idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). Data for 252 patients treated medically or surgically for idiopathic NPH were obtained through the Hydrocephalus Association Database Project. Data on post-surgical outcomes including improvement in symptoms, the need for in-home care, ability to drive, and employment status were analyzed. Most patients (73.7%) surveyed were treated with a shunt, an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), or both. More patients who underwent surgery reported driving and being employed compared to those who did not have surgery. Most shunt patients had improvements in gait (81.1%), urinary incontinence (55.9%), and dementia (64.4%). Overall, shunt patients reported more dramatic improvements in quality of life as compared to ETV patients (72.2% versus 55.6%). Treating idiopathic NPH with cerebrospinal fluid diversion facilitates a return to independence through improved functional and social outcomes.
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