Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH) is linked to disturbance of the CSF circulation, though the exact nature of the disturbance is not clarified. Phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging (PC-MRI) allows for measurement of local CSF and blood flows, and has been applied in hydrocephalus to demonstrate changes in both cerebral blood flow and aqueduct CSF flow. Many of these studies have, however been based on small numbers of subjects, or poorly defined selection criteria. This study therefore aimed to confirm if cerebral blood flow and CSF flow between compartments differed between INPH subjects and healthy elderly.
Forty-three healthy elderly and 22 patients diagnosed with INPH according to the INPH guidelines were investigated with PC-MRI measurements of cerebral arterial inflow (CBF) and internal jugular venous outflow, cervical CSF flow, and aqueduct CSF flow. Both net flows, pulsatile aspects of flow, and delays between flow waveforms were analysed.
Pulsatility in the aqueduct flow was significantly higher in INPH than healthy elderly (aqueduct stroke volume: 189±184 vs. 86±46 ml, p<0.01). There was larger variation in aqueduct net flow in INPH (SD: 1.31 vs. 0.25 ml/min), but the mean net flow did not differ. Cerebral blood flow and internal jugular vein flow showed no significant differences between the groups, though there was a trend toward lower CBF in the diastolic phase and higher CBF pulsatility index. No differences were found in flow delays.
In conclusion, cerebral in- and outflow of blood, and cervical CSF flow were similar in healthy elderly and INPH subjects. Aqueduct flow showed higher pulsatility in INPH, but there was no general reversal of the direction of aqueduct net flow.