Association of deep white matter infarction with chronic communicating hydrocephalus: Implications regarding the possible origin of normal-pressure hydrocephalus

W. G. Bradley, A. R. Whittemore, A. S. Watanabe, S. J. Davis, L. M. Teresi, M. Homyak

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The coexistence of cerebrovascular disease leading to deep white matter infarction and normal-pressure hydrocephalus has been noted previously in clinical studies, as both diseases can present with the triad of gait disturbance, dementia, and incontinence. The purpose of this MR study was to determine if the two diseases demonstrated a statistical association. Evidence of patchy periventricular hyperintensity representing presumed deep white matter infarction was sought in 20 patients shunted for normal-pressure hydrocephalus and in 35 additional consecutive patients with clinical symptoms and MR findings consistent with normal-pressure hydrocephalus. Deep white matter infarction was also sought in 62 consecutive age-matched control subjects. There was a statistically significant (p < .001) higher association (58%) of marked infarction in the 55 patients with normal-pressure hydrocephalus than in the age-matched controls (24%). MR findings of communicating hydrocephalus (ventriculomegaly and increased aqueductal CSF flow void) were sought in 78 consecutive patients with presumed deep white matter infarction, and the degree of severity of the two diseases was also found to be statistically significant (p < .05). In view of this association, the possibility that the two diseases are related was considered. A potential mechanism is discussed whereby deep white matter infarction leading to decreased periventricular tensile strength could result in communicating hydrocephalus. It is plausible that normal-pressure hydrocephalus may result from a number of different insults to the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology

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