There is some evidence from previous studies that idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) of the elderly might be linked to vascular leukoencephalopathy. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and impact of vascular risk factors and vascular diseases in idiopathic NPH compared with a control cohort. The prevalence of arterial hypertension; diabetes mellitus; hypercholesterolemia; hyperlipidemia; smoking; obesity; and cardiac, cerebrovascular, and other arteriosclerotic diseases was assessed in 65 patients with idiopathic NPH. The findings were compared with those of 70 patients with comparable age distribution. To describe the differences of the prevalences of vascular risk factors, odds ratios were obtained by univariate and multivariate analyses. The univariate analysis revealed significant associations between idiopathic NPH and arterial hypertension (prevalence, 54 of 65 [83%]; control group, 25 of 70 [36%]; P < .001) and diabetes mellitus (prevalence, 31 of 63 [49%]; control group, 20 of 70 [29%]; P < .015) but not with other vascular risk factors. After multivariate regression analysis, only hypertension remained significantly associated with NPH (P < .0001). There was also a significant association between NPH and cardiac (P < .001), cerebral arteriosclerotic (P = .007), and other arteriosclerotic diseases (P = .001). A positive association was found between the severity of clinical symptoms of NPH and the presence of hypertension, especially for gait disturbance. The presence of hypertension was not related to the duration of NPH. Our data show a highly significant association between idiopathic NPH and arterial hypertension. Arterial hypertension might be involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms promoting idiopathic NPH.
PMID: 8553398 [Pubmed - MEDLINE]