Shunting with gravitational valves—can adjustments end the era of revisions for overdrainage-related events?

overshunting with gravitational valves—can adjustments end the era of revisions for overdrainage-related events?

J Neurosurg 117:1197–1204, 2012

Overdrainage of CSF remains an unsolved problem in shunt therapy. The aim of the present study was to evaluate treatment options on overdrainage-related events enabled by the new generation of adjustable gravityassisted valves.

Methods. The authors retrospectively studied the clinical course of 250 consecutive adult patients with various etiologies of hydrocephalus after shunt insertion for different signs and symptoms of overdrainage. Primary and secondary overdrainage were differentiated. The authors correlated the incidence of overdrainage with etiology of hydrocephalus, opening valve pressure, and patient parameters such as weight and size. Depending on the severity of overdrainage, they elevated the opening pressure, and follow-up was performed until overdrainage was resolved.

Results. The authors found 39 cases (15.6%) involving overdrainage-related problems—23 primary and 16 secondary overdrainage. The median follow-up period in these 39 patients was 2.1 years. There was no correlation between the incidence of overdrainage and any of the following factors: sex, age, size, or weight of the patients. There was also no statistical significance among the different etiologies of hydrocephalus, with the exception of congenital hydrocephalus. All of the “complications” could be resolved by readjusting the opening pressure of the valve in one or multiple steps, avoiding further operations.

Conclusions. Modern adjustable and gravity-assisted valves enable surgeons to set the opening pressure relatively low to avoid underdrainage without significantly raising the incidence of overdrainage and to treat overdrainagerelated clinical and radiological complications without surgical intervention.