Object: This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of cerebrovascular disease and its risk factors among patients with normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) and to assess the influence of these factors on the outcome of shunt placement.
Methods: A cohort of 101 patients with NPH underwent shunt placement and was followed for 1 year. Gait disturbance and dementia were quantified using an NPH scale and handicap was determined using a modified Rankin scale (mRS). Primary outcome measures consisted of the differences between preoperative and last NPH scale and mRS scores. The presence of risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiac disease, peripheral vascular disease, male gender, and advancing age was recorded. Cerebrovascular disease was defined as a history of stroke or a computerized tomography (CT) scan revealing infarcts or moderate-to-severe white matter hypodense lesions. The prevalence of risk factors for cerebrovascular disease was higher in the 45 patients with cerebrovascular disease than the 56 without it. Risk factors did not influence outcome after shunt placement. Intent-to-treat analysis revealed that the mean improvement in the various scales was significantly less for patients with a history of stroke (14 patients), CT scans revealing infarctions (13), or white matter hypodense lesions (32 patients) than for those without cerebrovascular disease. The proportion of patients who responded to shunt placement was also significantly lower among patients with than those without cerebrovascular disease (p=0.02).
Conclusions: The authors identified a subgroup of patients with NPH and cerebrovascular disease who showed disappointing results after shunt placement. Cerebrovascular disease was an important predictor of poor outcome.