Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is the most common disease that can cause muscle weakness and atrophy among adults. Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is characterized by the triad of gait disturbance, cognitive impairment and urinary incontinence. The association between DM1 and NPH is extremely rare. The authors report a Chinese female patient with DM1 in association with NPH.
The patient presented with a history of 3-year of walking instability and cognitive impairment. Her brain MRI showed ventriculomegaly with normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure and the CSF tap-test was positive, which indicated the diagnosis of probable NPH. DM1 was confirmed by genetic testing.
Four patients with DM1-NPH association were found before. The association between NPH and DM1 may not be just a coincidence, NPH may occur in DM1 later in life and it is vital to recognize the association as a shunt surgery may improve patients’ quality of life.