Childs Nerv Syst (2010) 26:75–79.DOI 10.1007/s00381-009-0983-7
In the current literature, there are essentially no comparisons of quality of life (QOL) outcome after endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) and shunt in childhood hydrocephalus. Our objective was to compare QOL in children with obstructive hydrocephalus, treated with either ETVor shunt. Methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted at SickKids, Toronto of children between ages five and 18 years, with obstructive hydrocephalus due to aqueductal obstruction and no other brain abnormalities. Measures of QOL were the Hydrocephalus Outcome Questionnaire and the Health Utilities Index Mark 3. A subset of patients was given the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC-IV). Results A total of 47 of 59 (80%) eligible patients participated (24 had ETV as primary treatment, 23 had shunt as primary treatment), with a mean age of 12.1 years (standard deviation 3.9) at assessment. The ETV group was older at initial surgery (p<0.001) and had larger ventricle size at last follow-up (p= 0.047). In all QOL measures, there were no significant differences between the ETV group and shunt group (all p≥ 0.09). Treatment failure, hydrocephalus complications, and the presence of a functioning ETV at assessment were not associated with QOL differences. Among the 11 children (six ETV, five shunt) who were given the WISC-IV, there were no significant differences between the scores of the ETV group and shunt group (all p≥0.11). Conclusions This is the first study to provide a meaningful comparison of QOL after ETV and shunt in children. These preliminary results suggest that there is no obvious difference in QOL after ETVand shunt.