The value of clinical findings in the detection of normal pressure hydrocephalus

C. D. Mulrow, J. R. Feussner, B. C. Williams, K. A. Vokaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We conducted a retrospective study of 627 individuals with dementia to determine whether clinical characteristics could identify individuals with nromal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) on computed tomography (CT) brain scanning. Fifty (8%) individuals had classical clinical characteristics of NPH: dementia, urinary incontinence, and gait disturbance. When this clinical triad was present, 12% of individuals had NPH on CT scan; when absent, only 3% had NPH. The clinical findings identified individuals with a 4-fold increase (p<.001) of NPH on CT scan. Of the 50 individuals with the clinical triad, 6 had both clinical and CT scan findings consistent with NPH; 2 of these had shunt surgery, and 1 improved clinically. None of the 577 individuals without clinical findings had shunt surgery performed, including those with CT scan abnormalities consistent with NPH. We conclude that clinical characteristics can be used to identify individuals who need CT scanning for detection of NPH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-279
Number of pages3
JournalJournals of Gerontology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging


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