New NPH Clinic will help Diagnose and Treat Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

April 5, 2016

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center is now offering a specialized clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH).

Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an excess accumulation of cerebral fluid (CSF) in the brain. It can be caused by a variety of disorders affecting the brain and spinal cord. Because of its gradual progression without a sudden onset of symptoms, the condition is commonly known as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH).

Symptoms of NPH may include any, or all, of the following:

  • Gait Disturbances – mild imbalance to the inability to stand or walk, slow or shuffled steps
  • Mild Dementia – loss of interest in daily activities, slowed responsiveness and mental focus
  • Urinary Incontinence – Impairment of bladder control, urinary frequency and urgency

“NPH can mimic many of the symptoms of aging and other disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease so it is often misdiagnosed,” says Robert Sawicki, PhD, neuropsychologist. “The good news is, NPH can often be treated effectively once a diagnosis is made.”

Treatment for NPH involves surgical placement of a shunt in the brain to drain excess cerebral spinal fluid into the abdomen where is can be reabsorbed. “This can be a very successful treatment for some patients,” adds Dr. Sawicki. “NPH is an insidious disease with a variable rate of progress. The earlier we can diagnose it, the more effectively we can treat it.”

Conemaugh Memorial’s NPH Clinic involves neurosurgeons, neurologists, and neuropsychologists.  To learn more about the program, please call 1-814-534-NPH4 (6744).