Gait disturbances are typical of persons with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) without signs distinctive from other neurodegenerative and vascular conditions. Cerebrospinal fluid tap-test (CSF-TT) is expected to improve the motor performance of iNPH patients and is a prognostic indicator in their surgical management. This observational prospective study aims to determine which spatio-temporal gait parameter(s), measured during instrumented motor tests, and clinical scale(s) may provide a relevant contribution in the evaluation of motor performance pre vs. post CSF-TT on iNPH patients with and without important vascular encephalopathy.
Seventy-six patients (20 with an associated vascular encephalopathy) were assessed before, and 24 and 72 h after the CSF-TT by a timed up and go test (TUG) and an 18 m walking test (18 mW) instrumented using inertial sensors. Tinetti Gait, Tinetti Balance, Gait Status Scale, and Grading Scale were fulfilled before and 72 h after the CSF-TT. Stride length, cadence and total time were selected as the outcome measures. Statistical models with mixed effects were implemented to determine the relevant contribution to response variables of each quantitative gait parameter and clinical scales.
From baseline to 72 h post CSF-TT patients improved significantly by increasing cadence in 18 mW and TUG (on average of 1.7 and 2.4 strides/min respectively) and stride length in 18 mW (on average of 3.1 cm). A significant reduction of gait apraxia was reflected by modifications in double support duration and in coordination index.
Tinetti Gait, Tinetti Balance and Gait Status Scale were able to explain part of the variability of response variables not covered by instrumental data, especially in TUG. Grading Scale revealed the highest affinity with TUG total time and cadence when considering clinical scales alone.
Patients with iNPH and an associated vascular encephalopathy showed worst performances compared to pure iNPH but without statistical significance. Gait improvement following CSF-TT was comparable in the two groups. Overall these results suggest that, in order to augment CSF-TT accuracy, is key to assess the gait pattern by analyzing the main spatio-temporal parameters and set post evaluation at 72 h.