Normal pressure hydrocephalus syndrome is the most common form of hydrocephalus in the elderly and produces a dementia which can be reversible surgically. It is characterized by ventriculomegaly and the classic triad of symmetric gait disturbance, cognitive decline and urinary incontinence, also known as Hakim’s triad. To date, the exact etiology of the disease has not been elucidated and the only effective treatment is a cerebrospinal fluid shunting procedure which can be a ventriculoatrial, ventriculoperitoneal or lumboperitoneal shunt. The most important problem is the high rate of underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis due to similarities in symptoms with other neurodegenerative disorders, and in some cases, coexistence. Hence, increasing awareness amongst the community and medical professionals in order to increase clinical suspicion, timely diagnosis and treatment are paramount. The best way to achieve this is by having a structured protocol with patient-centered tests that evaluates the entire myriad of alterations a clinician might encounter whenever treating patients with this disorder. Recent advances in imaging technology as well as cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers have given interesting insight into the pathophysiology of the disease and will certainly contribute greatly in diagnostic advancements. We finally present an institutional protocol which has been accredited by international peers with promising results in diagnostic and outcome rates.
Part of the book: Cerebrospinal Fluid