Why does endoscopic aqueductoplasty fail so frequently?

J Neurosurg 117:141–149, 2012

The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare CSF flow after endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) and endoscopic aqueductoplasty (EAP) in patients presenting with obstructive hydrocephalus caused by aqueductal stenosis.

Methods. In patients harboring aqueductal stenosis who underwent EAP (n = 8), ETV (n = 8), and both ETV and EAP (n = 6), CSF flow through the restored aqueduct and through the ventriculostomy was investigated using cine cardiac-gated phase-contrast MRI. For qualitative evaluation of CSF flow, an in-plane phase-contrast sequence in the midsagittal plane was used. The MR images were displayed in a closed-loop cine format. Quantitative through-plane measurements were performed in the axial plane perpendicular to the aqueduct and/or floor of the third ventricle.

Results. Evaluation revealed significantly higher CSF flow through the ventriculostomies compared with flow through the aqueducts. This was true both when comparing the ETV group with the EAP group and when comparing the flow of the ventriculostomy and aqueduct within the ETV and EAP group. There was no difference in aqueductal CSF flow between patients who underwent EAP alone and patients who underwent ETV and EAP. There was also no difference in ventriculostomy CSF flow between patients who underwent ETV alone and patients who underwent ETV and EAP. Fifty percent of the restored aqueducts became occluded at a mean of 46 months after surgery (range 18–126 months). In contrast, all ETVs remained patent in the mean follow-up period of 110 months after surgery, although 1 patient required shunt placement after 66 months.

Conclusions. Cerebrospinal fluid flow through ventriculostomies is significantly higher than aqueductal CSF flow after EAP. This could be one factor to explain why the reclosure rate of aqueducts after EAP is higher than the reclosure rate of the ventriculostoma after ETV.