Feasibility of radiological markers in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2015 Oct;157(10):1709-18; discussion 1719. doi: 10.1007/s00701-015-2503-8. Epub 2015 Jul 21.


Background: Various radiological markers have been proposed for diagnostics in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH). We examined the usefulness of radiological markers in the diagnostics and prediction of shunt response in iNPH.

Method: In this retrospective cohort study, we evaluated brain CT or MRI scans of 390 patients with suspected iNPH. Based on a 24-h intraventricular pressure monitoring session, patients were classified into a non-NPH (n = 161) or probable iNPH (n = 229) group. Volumes of cerebrospinal fluid compartments (lateral ventricles, sylvian and suprasylvian subarachnoid spaces and basal cisterns) were visually assessed. Disproportionally enlarged subarachnoid spaces, flow void, white matter changes, medial temporal lobe atrophy and focally dilated sulci were evaluated. Moreover, we measured quantitative markers: Evans' index (EI), the modified cella media index, mean width of the temporal horns and callosal angle.

Results: iNPH was more likely in patients with severe volumetric disproportion between the suprasylvian and sylvian subarachnoid spaces than in those without disproportion (OR 7.5, CI 95 % 4.0-14.1, P < 0.0001). Mild disproportion (OR 2.6, CI 95 % 1.4-4.6, P = 0.001) and narrow temporal horns (OR per 1 mm 0.91, CI 95 % 0.84-0.98, P = 0.014) were also associated with an iNPH diagnosis. Other radiological markers had little association with the iNPH diagnosis in the final combined multivariate model. Interestingly, EI was higher in non-NPH than iNPH patients (0.40 vs. 0.38, P = 0.039). Preoperative radiological markers were not associated with shunt response.

Conclusions: Visually evaluated disproportion was the most useful radiological marker in iNPH diagnostics. Narrower temporal horns also supported an iNPH diagnosis, possibly since atrophy was more pronounced in the non-NPH than iNPH group.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Disproportion; Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus; Marker; Radiology; Shunt response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / diagnosis
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*