CSF tap test in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: still a necessary prognostic test?

J Neurol. 2022 Sep;269(9):5114-5126. doi: 10.1007/s00415-022-11168-x. Epub 2022 May 22.


Objective: To assess whether gait, neuropsychological, and multimodal MRI parameters predict short-term symptom reversal after cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tap test in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH).

Methods: Thirty patients (79.3 ± 5.9 years, 12 women) with a diagnosis of probable iNPH and 46 healthy controls (74.7 ± 5.4 years, 35 women) underwent comprehensive neuropsychological, quantitative gait, and multimodal MRI assessments of brain morphology, periventricular white-matter microstructure, cortical and subcortical blood perfusion, default mode network function, and white-matter lesion load. Responders were defined as an improvement of at least 10% in walking speed or timed up and go test 24 h after tap test. Univariate and multivariable tap test outcome prediction models were evaluated with logistic regression and linear support vector machine classification.

Results: Sixteen patients (53%) respondedpositively to tap test. None of the gait, neuropsychological, or neuroimaging parameters considered separately predicted outcome. A multivariable classifier achieved modest out-of-sample outcome prediction accuracy of 70% (p = .028); gait parameters, white-matter lesion load and periventricular microstructure were the main contributors.

Conclusions: Our negative findings show that short-term symptom reversal after tap test cannot be predicted from single gait, neuropsychological, or MRI parameters, thus supporting the use of tap test as prognostic procedure. However, multivariable approaches integrating non-invasive multimodal data are informative of outcome and may be included in patient-screening procedures. Their value in predicting shunting outcome should be further explored, particularly in relation to gait and white-matter parameters.

Keywords: CSF tap test; Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus; Multimodal MRI; Prediction; Reversible dementia.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure* / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure* / diagnostic imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Postural Balance
  • Prognosis
  • Time and Motion Studies