What are symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)?

Updated: Jun 04, 2018
  • Author: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Symptoms of NPH include the following:

  • Gait disturbance is usually the first symptom and may precede other symptoms by months or years. Magnetic gait is used to emphasize the tendency of the feet to remain "stuck to the floor" despite patients’ best efforts to move them.

  • Dementia should be a late finding in pure (shunt-responsive) NPH. It presents as an impairment of recent memory or as a "slowing of thinking." Spontaneity and initiative are decreased. The degree can vary from patient to patient.

  • Urinary incontinence may present as urgency, frequency, or a diminished awareness of the need to urinate.

  • Other symptoms that can occur include personality changes and Parkinsonism. Seizures are extremely rare and should prompt consideration for an alternative diagnosis.

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