MR elastography demonstrates increased brain stiffness in normal pressure hydrocephalus

N. Fattahi, A. Arani, A. Perry, F. Meyer, A. Manduca, K. Glaser, M. L. Senjem, R. L. Ehman, J. Huston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Normal pressure hydrocephalus is a reversible neurologic disorder characterized by a triad of cognitive impairment, gait abnormality, and urinary incontinence that is commonly treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. However, multiple overlapping symptoms often make it difficult to differentiate normal pressure hydrocephalus from other types of dementia, and improved diagnostic techniques would help patient management. MR elastography is a novel diagnostic tool that could potentially identify patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus. The purpose of this study was to assess brain stiffness changes in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus compared with age-and sex-matched cognitively healthy individuals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: MR elastography was performed on 10 patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus and 21 age-and sex-matched volunteers with no known neurologic disorders. Image acquisition was conducted on a 3T MR imaging scanner. Shear waves with 60-Hz vibration frequency were transmitted into the brain by a pillowlike passive driver. A novel postprocessing technique resistant to noise and edge artifacts was implemented to determine regional brain stiffness. The Wilcoxon rank sum test and linear regression were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: A significant increase in stiffness was observed in the cerebrum (P =.001), occipital lobe (P <.001), parietal lobe (P =.001), and the temporal lobe (P =.02) in the normal pressure hydrocephalus group compared with healthy controls. However, no significant difference was noted in other regions of the brain, including the frontal lobe (P=.07), deep gray and white matter (P=.43), or cerebellum (P =.20). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates increased brain stiffness in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus compared with ageand sex-matched healthy controls; these findings should motivate future studies investigating the use of MR elastography for this condition and the efficacy of shunt therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-467
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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