Change in Balance and Neuropsychological Measures Post-Lumbar Drain Trial in Patients with Suspected Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Hannah E. Wadsworth, Daniel Kevin Horton, Kaltra Dhima, C. Munro Cullum, Jonathan White, Robert Ruchinskas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting is commonly used to treat normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). Assessment of cognition and balance pre- and post-lumbar drain (LD) can be used to provide objective metrics which may help determine the potential benefit of VP shunting. The aim of this investigation was to determine which measures identify clinical change as a result of a LD trial and to develop recommendations for standard NPH clinical assessment procedures. Methods: The Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and a brief battery of commonly used neuropsychological tests pre- and post-LD (MMSE, trail making test, animal fluency, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test - Revised, and digit span) were administered to 86 patients with a diagnosis of NPH. Subjects were divided into groups based on whether or not clinical change was present, and thus, VP shunting was recommended post-LD, and predictors of group membership were examined. Results: Significant improvements (p < 0.05) were seen on the BBS and Trail Making Part B in the VP shunt-recommended group, with no other significant changes over time in either group. Regression analyses found that VP shunt recommendation was accurately predicted for 80% of the sample using the BBS score alone, with accuracy increasing to 85% when Trails B was added. Conclusions: Scores from the BBS and Trails B were most likely to change in those chosen to undergo VP shunting post-LD. Given that the typical clinical presentation of NPH includes gait disturbance and cognitive impairment, it is recommended that a standard pre-/post-LD evaluation include the BBS and trail making test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-534
Number of pages6
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Aging research
  • Dementia and neuropsychology
  • Elderly
  • Geriatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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