Differentiation of normal pressure hydrocephalus and cerebral atrophy by computed tomography and spinal infusion test

J Neurol. 1979;222(2):109-18. doi: 10.1007/BF00313004.


The diagnostic value of computed tomography (CT) and spinal infusion test (SIT) was investigated in 27 patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) and 35 patients with cerebral atrophy. The most consistent CT finding of NPH was dilatation of the temporal horns, that of cerebral atrophy widening of the convexity sulci. However, 43% of patients with cerebral atrophy demonstrated no cortical atrophy. The SIT showed an excellent relation with isotope cisternography and continuous intracranial pressure recording. NPH and cerebral atrophy were correctly differentiated in 71% by CT and SIT. A normal SIT and a CT scan without the typical features of NPH exclude impairment of cerebrospinal fluid absorption. An abnormal SIT and a CT scan showing ventricular enlargement without dilatation of convexity sulci, require isotope cisternography and possibly intracranial pressure recording to determine the degree of the absorption deficit.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / diagnosis*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnosis*
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Pressure*
  • Manometry / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*