Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, or NPH, is caused by excess fluid building up and putting pressure on the brain. It can cause urinary incontinence, abnormal gait (walking) and mental decline. Because the symptoms of NPH are very similar to other neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, it is often misdiagnosed.
One treatment for NPH patients involves the surgical placement of a shunt in the brain to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) into the abdomen, where it can be absorbed. This allows the brain ventricles to return to their normal size. Most patients experience a reduction in swelling within a few days after surgery, and an immediate improvement in their ability to walk and function. Regular follow-up care by a physician is important to identify subtle changes that might indicate problems with the shunt.