The mainstay of treatment for idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is spinal fluid shunting. A tap test (TT) is recommended as an indication of shunting. Patients with iNPH are often elderly and have multiple comorbidities affecting the shunting outcome. We investigated the factors affecting TT in patients with iNPH.
Seventy-five patients with iNPH were admitted to our department for a TT from April 2010 to May 2021. The patients were divided into a responsive group and an unresponsive group according to the clinical outcomes after TT on the Timed Up and Go Test (TUG), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), or iNPH grading scale. Factors affecting the TT were compared between the responders and nonresponders.
There were 38 patients (50.7%) in the TT responder group, and the prevalence of improvement was 82.9% in the TUG, 27.6% in the MMSE, and 76.3% in the iNPH grading scale. There were no significant differences in the vascular risk factors between the two groups. The prevalence of lumbar spondylosis, compression fracture, severe periventricular hyperintensity, deep and subcortical white matter hyperintensity (DSWMH), and old cerebral infarcts was significantly higher among the TT nonresponders. The logistic regression analysis showed that severe DSWMH and lumbar spondylosis were associated with a TT nonresponse (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). Shunting was performed in 22 patients, 19 of whom were TT responders.
Severe DSWMH and lumbar spondylosis were associated with a poor response to the TT in iNPH patients. We should consider risk factors when selecting candidates for shunt surgery.

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