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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
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Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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What is the time frame for treating a newly diagnosed NPH?

Resolved Question:

What is the time frame for treating a newly diagnosed NPH?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.


Thank you for writing in today. I am familiar with normal pressure hydrocephalus; however, I want to ask you a little bit more about this situation. Are you having any problems with pain, behavioral or cognitive impairments, or any other symptoms? I am a little unclear about what you mean regarding time frame. Do you mean is it curable, how long treatment takes, how fast it progresses, etc? Please let me know. Lisa

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
gait problems, weakness in legs. Mainly, how fast does it progress?
Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.


Thank you for responding. I want to address a couple of things. First of all, I suspected that you may be having symptoms, since you were referred to a neurosurgeon. Normal pressure hydrocephalus develops relatively slowly. There are a number of ways to relieve the hydrocephalus. One of the less invasive options is a spinal tap. During the spinal tap, fluid is removed. Sometimes a spinal tap is used, since NPH develops slowly. It could be a number of months before the hydrocephalus becomes problematic again. For other patients, surgery may be indicated. If surgery is needed, most patients have a shunt placed during surgery. A shunt literally shunts the fluid from the ventricle in the brain into the abdominal cavity (usually). Essentially a shunt moves the fluid from the brain to the belly and this prevents the hydrocephalus from redeveloping. When a patient has the hydrocephalus relieved, whether it be via spinal tap or a surgical shunt, some patient note an improvement. If you have a procedure to relieve the hydrocephalus, you may find that your gait and weakness improves; however, not all patients respond the same way. In addition, some patients are just monitored and symptoms managed, rather than attempting to relieve the hydrocephalus. At this point, your neurosurgeon will be the best person to determine which option may work best for you. Regardless, you will need to have routine visits with your neurologist. NPH is progressive and not curable, but it can be managed. I hope this helps. Really, if you have any other questions or need clarification, please let me know. Lisa

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