Prognosis for Patients with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Statistics vary regarding the success of shunt surgery. Not all patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus experience significant improvements from shunt surgery. When the cause of NPH has been determined, however, shunt surgery has a high success rate.

Untreated, NPH symptoms will generally worsen and likely lead to death over time. Individuals who are advised not to undergo shunt surgery may see improvements with periodic lumbar punctures and/or other treatments. When shunt surgery is successful, patients experience a reversal or lessening of their symptoms and an improved quality of life.

NPH Prevention

Although the cause of many cases of normal pressure hydrocephalus is unknown, commonsense steps can help reduce your risk for head injury, which can result in NPH. Always wear your safety belt when driving and insist that all passengers wear theirs. Always wear a safety helmet when biking, skating, rollerblading, skiing, or snowboarding.

Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, and being physically active also helps to reduce the risks of high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—all conditions that can lead to NPH.

Publication Review By: Alan B. Ettinger, M.D.

Published: 06 May 2006

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015