Objective assessment of patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus following ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement using activity-monitoring data: pilot study

Ignacio Jusue-Torres, Desmond A. Brown, Zach Pennington, Petrice M. Cogswell, Farwa Ali, Neill Graff-Radford, David T. Jones, Jeremy K. Cutsforth-Gregory, Jonathan Graff-Radford, Kenton R. Kaufman, Benjamin D. Elder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) results in significant morbidity in the elderly with symptoms of dementia, gait instability, and urinary incontinence. In well-selected patients, ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) placement often results in clinical improvement. Most postshunt assessments of patients rely on subjective scales. The goal of this study was to assess the utility of remote activity monitoring to provide objective evidence of gait improvement following VPS placement for iNPH. METHODS Patients with iNPH were prospectively enrolled and fitted with 5 activity monitors (on the hip and bilateral thighs and ankles) that they wore for 4 days preoperatively within 30 days of surgery and for 4 days within 30 days postoperatively. Monitors collected continuous data for number of steps, cadence, body position (upright, prone, supine, and lateral decubitus), gait entropy, and the proportion of each day spent active or static. Data were retrieved from the devices and a comparison of pre and postoperative movement assessment was performed. The gait data were also correlated with formal clinical gait assessments before and after lumbar puncture and with motion analysis laboratory testing at baseline and 1 month and 1 year after VPS placement. RESULTS Twenty patients fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria (median age 76 years). The baseline median number of daily steps was 1929, the median percentage of the day spent inactive was 70%, the median percentage of the day with a static posture was 95%, the median gait velocity was 0.49 m/sec, and the median number of steps required to turn was 8. There was objective improvement in median entropy from pre to postoperatively, increasing from 0.6 to 0.8 (p = 0.002). There were no statistically significant differences for any of the remaining variables measured by the activity monitors when comparing the preoperative to the 1-month postoperative time point. All variables from motion analysis testing showed statistically significant differences or a trend toward significance at 1 year after VPS placement. Among the significantly correlated variables at baseline, cadence was inversely correlated with percentage of gait cycle spent in the support phase (contact with ground vs swing phase). CONCLUSIONS This pilot study suggests that activity monitoring provides an early objective measure of improvement in gait entropy after VPS placement among patients with iNPH, although a more significant improvement was noted on the detailed clinical gait assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE6
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023


  • activity monitoring
  • gait analysis
  • normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • ventriculoperitoneal shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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