Sleep-disordered breathing is frequently associated with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus but not other types of hydrocephalus

Riedel CS, Milan JB, Juhler M & Jennum P

Study objectives

Previous studies have shown sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) to be highly prevalent in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH). The current study aimed to estimate and compare the prevalence of SDB in patients with different types of hydrocephalus and test if SDB was associated with changed CO2.


We investigated the prevalence of SDB in a prospective cohort of 48 hydrocephalus patients with nocturnal polysomnography (PSG). Twenty-three of the patients also had simultaneous CO2 measurements.


The prevalence of SDB was high in patients with iNPH, with moderate-to-severe SDB in 21/22 (96%) of the patients and an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 43.5 (95% CI 33.8-52.2). Patients with pediatric-onset hydrocephalus had moderate-to-severe SDB in 7/16 (44%), with an AHI of 16.1 (95% CI 8.16-23.8). Except for one patient, all patients with adult-onset obstructive hydrocephalus (9/10) had normal respiration or mild SDB with an AHI of 8.4 (95% CI 5.5-10.5). None of the 23 patients measured with CO2 had elevated CO2 associated with SDB and had normal CO2 during sleep, with 40.8 ± 5.5 mmHg, 42.7 ± 4.1 mmHg, 34.5-45.8 mmHg for patients with iNPH, pediatric-onset, and adult-onset, respectively.


We found a high prevalence of SDB in patients with iNPH, confirming previous findings. We extended this with the finding that the prevalence of SDB in patients with other types of hydrocephalus is not significantly different from that in the general population. Additionally, we did not find elevations of CO2 associated with SDB or CO2 retention during sleep.

Read the full paper in Sleep (click here).