To date, there is no standard outcome assessment scale for shunt treatment.
In designing such scale, the relative weight of each of the common presentations of the condition from the patient’s or his/her carer’s point of view should be taken into consideration.
Clinical improvement of patients with iNPH can be sustained for 5-7 years in some patients, even if shunt revision surgery is needed multiple times. With earlier diagnosis and treatment and the increasing lifespan of the ageing population, the need for long-term follow-up after shunt surgery may be greater than it was in the past. Monitoring, identification and treatment of shunt obstruction is a key management principle 1).
Gait and Incontinence
Thirty-seven patients (median age 70 years, range 50-89 years) with Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus were evaluated before and 6 months after surgery. Symptoms and signs were assessed by the iNPH scale, activities of daily living (ADL) with the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS), autonomy and participation with Impact on Participation and Autonomy (IPA), and caregiver burden with the Caregiver Burden Scale (CBS). HRQOL was evaluated with the EQ-5D (EuroQol Group-5 Dimension health survey).
Twenty-four patients (65%) improved clinically (iNPH scale score) and 31 (86%) improved their HRQOL after surgery, almost to the same level as found in the normal population. The patients became more independent in physical and cognition, and participation and autonomy improved. The caregiver burden was decreased among caregivers to male patients but remained unchanged on the overall group level. After shunt surgery, patients with iNPH showed improvement in most aspects of social life, they became more independent, and their quality of life returned to nearly normal 8).