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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Neurosyphillis presenting with normal pressure hydrocephalus in a 76 year old man

Shaffer R.S. Mok, Vivek Punjabi, David L. Shklar

Am J Case Rep 2012; 13:173-176

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.883322

Available online:

Published: 2012-08-07

Background:    Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is composed of gait abnormalities, urinary incontinence and decline in mentation. It is uncommonly induced by syphilitic infection.
    Case Report:    A 76 year-old male present with gait disturbances, urinary incontinence, declining vision and cognition, with a known diagnosis of NPH. He underwent therapeutic lumbar puncture (LP), which demonstrated leukocytosis and elevated protein. Venereal disease research laboratory testing (VDRL) was reactive in a 1:64 dilution with positive fluorescent Treponemal Antibody (FTA-Abs). The subject was treated with 14 days of Intravenous (IV) Penicillin 3 million units for 3 weeks and intramuscular benzathine PCN for 2 shots, with marked clinical improvement.
    Conclusions:    The incidence of Tabes Dorsalis is limited in the age of penicillin, especially in subjects without HIV. Subjects are diagnosed with either LP RPR or VDRL, confirmed with FTA-Abs. Common treatment is IV PCN 1.4–3 mU for 10–14 days.

Keywords: Tabes Dorsalis, Neurosyphilis, Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure, Hydrocephalus, syphilis, meningitis