Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a neurological disorder characterized by a triad of symptoms: gait disturbance, dementia, and urinary incontinence. To date, the treatment of choice is cerebrospinal fluid diversion with a shunt. Because the clinical presentation of NPH mimics other neurological disorders, or can be perceived by healthcare providers as a natural aging process, it can be misdiagnosed or go undetected for many years. Patients with NPH suffer from debilitating physiological impairments as well as psychological disturbances. There are many different healthcare concerns in this population, including quality-of-life and safety issues. To achieve a more expedient diagnosis and treatment plan, nurses must be educated about this disorder.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Kelly Thynne, MSN RN APN-C, at firstname.lastname@example.org . She is a nurse practitioner at Atlantic Neurosurgical Association in Morristown, NJ.