Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Multidisciplinary Clinic

Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute

What is Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. This occurs if the normal flow of CSF throughout the brain and spinal cord is blocked. The result: too much fluid in the brain which causes neurological symptoms.

NPH can occur in people of any age, but it is most common in older adults. NPH is treatable, but many people do not receive the care they need because symptoms can be mistaken for other neurologic problems, including Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. An early diagnosis and appropriate treatment may result in improved quality of life. 

Close up of an older woman and man in front of their house, smiling.

Could It Be NPH?

NPH is complex and can be difficult to diagnose. 

Contact the NPH Multidisciplinary Clinic at Rhode Island Hospital for a consultation. 

Phone: 401-444-6528

What Kind of Doctors Treat Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

NPH requires a multidisciplinary team of doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating this condition. The team at the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute consists of neurologists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists, and neuropsychologists. Our NPH Multidisciplinary Clinic is one of the few in New England with the experience and technology to provide effective diagnosis and personalized care for those with NPH.

Our team will evaluate patients in a comprehensive, one-day visit that includes an assessment, a diagnosis, and discussion of treatment options.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus? 

Symptoms of NPH are complex and can be similar to other disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other memory, movement and orthopedic disorders. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Memory and cognitive impairment
  • Problems with walking (ataxic gait); a sensation that one’s feet feel "stuck"
  • Impaired bladder control (urinary hesitancy or incontinence)

NPH is a chronic condition. Its symptoms develop slowly and can take from months to years to appear fully.

What Causes Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

The cause of NPH is currently unknown, but it may be related to a subarachnoid hemorrhage (a type of stroke), head trauma, infection, tumor, aging or prior surgery. However, many people develop NPH even when none of these factors are present. 

What Can I Expect if I Have Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

You may not notice physical or behavioral differences that could be signs of NPH, but family and those closest to you usually do. NPH is an unusual dementia-like condition because it is often treatable. Optimal results can be achieved by early diagnosis and subsequent treatment. 

NPH is usually not fatal, but its symptoms may impair a person’s ability to live independently.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Multidisciplinary Clinic Locations