Clinical assessment of cerebrospinal fluid dynamics in hydrocephalus. Guide to interpretation based on observational study

Authors


Dr R. A. Weerakkody, Division of Surgery, Imperial College London, St Mary’s Hospital, Praed St, London W2 1NY, UK
Tel.: +44 0 7578192981
Fax: +44 0 1223 216926
e-mail: Weerakkody@cantab.net

Abstract

Weerakkody RA, Czosnyka M, Schuhmann MU, Schmidt E, Keong N, Santarius T, Pickard JD, Czosnyka Z. Clinical assessment of cerebrospinal fluid dynamics in hydrocephalus. Guide to interpretation based on observational study.
Acta Neurol Scand: 2011: 124: 85–98.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objectives –  The term hydrocephalus encompasses a range of disorders characterised by clinical symptoms, abnormal brain imaging and derangement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics. The ability to elucidate which patients would benefit from CSF diversion (a shunt or third ventriculostomy) is often unclear. Similar difficulties are often encountered in shunted patients to predict the scope for improvement by shunt re-adjustment or revision. In this study we aimed to update our knowledge of how key quantitative parameters describing CSF dynamics may be used in diagnosis of shunt-responsive hydrocephalus and in the assessment of shunt function.

Methods –  A number of quantitative parameters [including resistance to CSF outflow (Rcsf), pulse amplitude of intracranial pressure waveform (AMP), RAP index and slow vasogenic waves] were studies in 1423 patients with 2665 CSF infusion tests and 305 overnight intracranial pressure (ICP)-monitoring sessions over a 17 year period.

Observations –  We demonstrate our observations for typical values of Pb, Rcsf, AMP, slow vasogenic waves derived from infusion studies or overnight ICP monitoring in differentiating atrophy from shunt-responsive normal pressure hydrocephalus or acute hydrocephalus. From the same variables tested on shunted patients we demonstrate a standardised approach to help differentiate a properly-functioning shunt from underdrainage or overdrainage.

Conclusions –  Quantitative variables derived from CSF dynamics allow differentiation between clinically overlapping entities such as shunt-responsive normal pressure hydrocephalus and brain atrophy (not shunt responsive) as well as allowing the detection of shunt malfunction (partial or complete blockage) or overdrainage. This observational study is intended to serve as an update for our understanding of quantitative testing of CSF dynamics.

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