What is Normal pressure hydrocephalus?

This information comes from Alzheimer’s Society, a wonderful organization based out of the UK. They are one of my go-to sources for information and I highly recommend taking a look around their website. They offer the information on their website to be freely used by others, so I am posting the information in full. You can access the same article on their website as well as resources on dementia by clicking on the title, below.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus is one of the rarer forms of dementia and one of the treatable (and often reversible) forms.

What is Normal pressure hydrocephalus?

Normal pressure hydrocephalus occurs when excess fluid accumulates in the brain, but without causing pressure to build up in the brain tissue. Symptoms include difficulties with walking, dementia and urinary incontinence. In most cases the cause is unknown, but it sometimes develops after recovery from a head injury, brain haemorrhage (a bleed in the brain) or severe meningitis (an infection of the tissue surrounding the brain).

Treatment involves surgery to drain excess fluid. The success of this treatment varies depending on how early the condition is diagnosed, but symptoms may improve after surgery and some people make an almost complete recovery.

For further information and support, contact Shine (see ‘Other useful organisations’).

© Copyright 1998-2015 Alzheimer’s Society. All rights reserved.

And a bit more information from Alzheimer Europe:

NPH is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which causes the ventricles of the brain to enlarge. This is thought to stretch the brain tissue, causing a triad of symptoms. Whether NPH is a disease-entity, is discutable.

Symptoms and course

  • Gait disturbances (swaying, with stiff leggs)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Mild dementia

Causes and risk factors

In most cases, the cause of this disorder is unknown. In some patients a brain operation or infection has led to the condition.


6 – 10 % of all dementia patients.

Diagnostic procedures

  • CT-scan to detect enlarged ventricles
  • MRI to detect enlarged ventricles and oedema at sides of ventricles
  • Lumbar puncture to estimate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure and analysis of the fluid

Care and treatment

Placement of CSF shunt.


One thought on “What is Normal pressure hydrocephalus?

  1. Pingback: What are the rare forms of dementia? | Doctor Dementia and the Dementia Adventure

Tell us what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s