Retrospective comparison of long‑term functionality and revision rate of two different shunt valves in pediatric and adult patients

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2541–2549

The most frequent therapy of hydrocephalus is implantation of ventriculoperitoneal shunts for diverting cerebrospinal into the peritoneal cavity. We compared two adjustable valves, proGAV and proGAV 2.0, for complications resulting in revision surgery.

Methods Four hundred patients undergoing primary shunt implantation between 2014 and 2020 were analyzed for overall revision rate, 1-year revision rate, and revision-free survival observing patient age, sex, etiology of hydrocephalus, implantation site, prior diversion of cerebrospinal fluid, and cause of revision.

Results All data were available of all 400 patients (female/male 208/192). Overall, 99 patients underwent revision surgery after primary implantation. proGAV valve was implanted in 283 patients, and proGAV 2.0 valves were implanted in 117 patients. There was no significant difference between the two shunt valves concerning revision rate (p = 0.8069), 1-year revision rate (p = 0.9077), revision-free survival (p = 0.6921), and overall survival (p = 0.3232). Regarding 1-year revision rate, we observed no significant difference between the two shunt valves in pediatric patients (40.7% vs 27.6%; p = 0.2247). Revision operation had to be performed more frequently in pediatric patients (46.6% vs 24.8%; p = 0.0093) with a significant higher number of total revisions with proGAV than proGAV 2.0 (33 of 59 implanted shunts [55.9%] vs. 8 of 29 implanted shunts [27.6%]; p = 0.0110) most likely due to longer follow-up in the proGAV-group. For this reason, we clearly put emphasis on analyzing results regarding 1-year revision rate.

Conclusion According to the target variables we analyzed, aside from lifetime revision rate in pediatric patients, there is no significant difference between the two shunt valves.

The Management of Hydrocephalus in Midline Posterior Fossa Cystic Collections

Neurosurgery 93:576–585, 2023

Hydrocephalus frequently occurs with midline posterior fossa cystic collections. The classification of this heterogeneous group of developmental anomalies, including Dandy–Walker malformation, persisting Blake’s pouch, retrocerebellar arachnoid cysts, and mega cisterna magna, is subject of debate. The absence of diagnostic criteria is confusing regarding the ideal management of PFCC-related hydrocephalus.

OBJECTIVE: To decipher the surgical strategy for the treatment of children with PFCC-related hydrocephalus through a retrospective analysis of the surgical outcome driven by their clinical and radiological presentation.

METHODS: This study enrolled patients operated of symptomatic PFCC-related hydrocephalus. Clinical and MRI features were examined, as well as the surgical outcome. Unbiased subgroup classification of the patients was performed with multiple component analysis as a function of imaging characteristics and hierarchical clustering on principal component. Outcome was assessed with binomial logistic regression and Kaplan–Meier analysis.

RESULTS: Fifty-four patients were included between 2007 and 2021. Multiple component analysis suggested that cerebellar and vermian hypoplasia, vermian rotation, basal–tentorial angle, and fastigial angle were strongly correlated. Hierarchical clustering and the distribution of the patients in the bidimensional plot showed the clear segregation of 3 major clusters, which correlated with the radiological diagnosis (P < .01). Binomial logistic regression and survival analysis showed that endoscopic third ventriculostomy was an effective treatment for patients with persisting Blake’s pouch, while failing to control hydrocephalus in most of patients with Dandy–Walker malformation.

CONCLUSION: Preoperative MRI in patients with PFCC-related hydrocephalus is essential to better define the diagnosis. The choice of treatment strategy notably relies on correct radiological diagnosis.

Initial Clinical Experience and Biomechanical Analysis of a Novel Gravity Unit–Assisted Valve ( in Pediatric Patients With Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery 93:555–562, 2023

Overdrainage is a widely reported complication representing common indication for shunt revision. Despite recent advances in valve design, repeated shunt revisions represent burden on healthcare systems.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficiency of a novel gravity unit–assisted programmable valve “” in pediatric hydrocephalus using clinical and biomechanical analyses.

METHODS: This retrospective single-center study included pediatric patients who received valve between April 2019 and 2021. Several clinical and biomechanical parameters were documented including complications and revision rates. Flow rate, functional assessment in vertical and horizontal positions, and extent of depositions inside valve were analyzed in explanted valves.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven valves in 34 pediatric patients with hydrocephalus (mean age 2.82 ± 3.91 years) were included. Twelve valves (32.4%) were explanted during a follow-up period of 27.3 ± 7.9 months. One-year survival rate of 89% and overall survival rate of 67.6% with a valve survival average of 23.8 ± 9.7 months were observed. Patients with explanted valves (n = 12) were significantly younger, with 0.91 ± 0.54 years of age in average (P= .004), and showed significantly more adjustments difficulties (P= .009). 58.3% of explanted valves showed deposits in more than 75% of the valve surface despite normal cerebrospinal fluid findings and were associated with dysfunctional flow rate in vertical, horizontal, or both positions.

CONCLUSION: The novel valve with integrated gravity unit is efficient in pediatric hydrocephalus with comparable survival rate. Deposits inside valves could affect its flow rate in different body positions and might lead to dysfunction or difficulties in valve adjustments.

Cerebral Microbleeds—Long-Term Outcome After Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunting in Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery 93:300–308, 2023

Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) are common in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH) and have been suggested as radiological markers of a brain prone to bleeding. The presence of CMBs might be relevant when selecting patients for shunt surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether CMBs increases long-term risk of hemorrhagic complications and mortality or affects outcomes after cerebrospinal fluid shunt surgery in a cohort of patients with INPH.

METHODS: One hundred and forty nine shunted patients with INPH (mean age, 73 years) were investigated with MRI (T2* or susceptibility-weighted imaging sequences) preoperatively. CMBs were scored with the Microbleed Anatomic Rating Scale. Patients were observed for a mean of 6.5 years (range 2 weeks to 13 years) after surgery. Hemorrhagic events and death were noted. Improvement in gait was evaluated 3 to 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS: At baseline, 74 patients (50%) had CMBs. During follow-up, 7 patients (5%) suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and 43 (29%) suffered a subdural hematoma/hygroma with a median time from surgery of 30.2 months (IQR 50). Overall, having CMBs was not associated with suffering a subdural hematoma/hygroma or hemorrhagic stroke during follow-up with 1 exception that an extensive degree of CMBs (≥50 CMB) was more common in patients suffering a hemorrhagic stroke (P = .03). CMBs were associated with increased mortality (P = .02, Kaplan-Meier, log-rank test). The presence of CMBs did not affect gait outcome (P = .28).

CONCLUSION: CMBs were associated with hemorrhagic stroke and mortality. CMBs do not seem to reduce the possibility of gait improvement after shunt surgery or contribute to the risk of hemorrhagic complications regarding subdural hematoma or hygroma.

Neuronavigated endoscopic aqueductoplasty with panventricular stent plus septostomy for isolated fourth ventricle in complex hydrocephalus and syringomyelia associated with myelomeningocele

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2333–2338

Isolated fourth ventricle (IFV) is a challenging entity to manage. In recent years, endoscopic treatment for aqueductoplasty has been on the rise. However, in patients with complex hydrocephalus and distorted ventricular system, its implementation can be complex.

Methods We present a 3-year-old patient with myelomeningocele and postnatal hydrocephalus treated by ventriculoperitoneal shunt. In follow-up, a progressive IFV and isolated lateral ventricle with symptoms of the posterior fossa developed. An endoscopic aqueductoplasty (EA) with panventricular stent plus septostomy guided with neuronavigation was decided due to the complexity of the ventricular system.

Conclusion In IFV associated with complex hydrocephalus with distortion of the ventricular system, navigation can be of great help for planning and as a guide for performing EA

From white to blue light: evolution of endoscope-assisted intracranial tumor neurosurgery and expansion to intraaxial tumors

J Neurosurg 139:59–64, 2023

Intraoperative use of the endoscope to assist in visualization of intracranial tumor pathology has expanded with increasing surgeon experience and improved instrumentation. The authors aimed to study how advancements in endoscopic technology have affected the evolution of endoscope use, with particular focus on blue light–filter modification allowing for discrimination of fluorescent tumor tissue following 5-ALA administration.

METHODS A retrospective analysis of patients undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection at a single institution between February 2012 and July 2021 was performed. Patients were included if the endoscope was used for diagnostic tumor cavity inspection or therapeutic assistance with tumor resection following standard craniotomy and microsurgical tumor resection, with emphasis on those cases in which blue light endoscopy was used. Medical records were queried for patient demographics, operative reports describing the use of the endoscope and extent of resection, associations with tumor pathology, and postoperative outcomes. Preoperative and postoperative MR images were reviewed for radiographic extent of resection.

RESULTS A total of 52 patients who underwent endoscope-assisted craniotomy for tumor were included. Thirty patients (57.7%) were men and the average age was 52.6 ± 16.1 years. Standard white light endoscopes were used for assistance with tumor resection in 28 cases (53.8%) for tumors primarily located in the ventricular system, parasellar region, and cerebellopontine angle. A blue light endoscope for detection of 5-ALA fluorescence was introduced into our practice in 2014 and subsequently used for assistance with tumor resection in 24 cases (46.2%) (intraaxial: n = 22, extraaxial: n = 2). Beyond the use of the surgical microscope as the primary visualization source, the blue light endoscope was used to directly perform additional tumor resection in 19/21 cases as a result of improved fluorescence detection as compared to the surgical microscope. No complications were associated with the use of the endoscope or with additional resection performed under white or blue light visualization.

CONCLUSIONS Endoscopic assistance to visualize intracranial tumors had previously been limited to white light, assisting mostly in the visualization of extraaxial tumors confined to intraventricular and cisternal compartments. Blue light– equipped endoscopes provide improved versatility and visualization of 5-ALA fluorescing tissue beyond the capability of the surgical microscope, thereby expanding its use into the realm of intraaxial tumor resections.

The benefits of automated CSF drainage in normal pressure hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1505–1509

The commonly used cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage system remains the manual drip-chamber drain. The LiquoGuard (Möller Medical GmbH, Germany) is an automated CSF management device with dual functionality, measuring intracranial pressure and automatic pressure- or volume-led CSF drainage. There is limited research for comparison of devices, particularly in the neurosurgical field, where it has potential to reshape care.

Objective This study aims to compare manual drip-chamber drain versus LiquoGuard system, by assessing accuracy of drainage, associated morbidity and impact on length of stay.

Method Inclusion criteria consisted of suspected normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) patients undergoing extended lumbar drainage. Patients were divided into manual drain group versus automated group.

Results Data was analysed from 42 patients: 31 in the manual group versus 11 in the LiquoGuard group. Volumetric overdrainage was seen in 90.3% (n = 28) versus 0% (p < 0.05), and under-drainage in 38.7% (n = 12) versus 0% (p < 0.05), in the manual and automatic group, respectively. Symptoms of over-drainage were noted in 54.8% (n = 17) of the manual group, all of which had episodes of volumetric over-drainage, versus 18.2% (n = 2) in automated group, of which neither had actual over-drainage (p < 0.05). Higher over-drainage symptoms of manual drain is likely due to increased fluctuation of CSF drainage, instead of smooth CSF drainage seen with LiquoGuard system. An increased length of stay was seen in 38.7% (n = 12) versus 9% (n = 1) (p < 0.05) in the manual and LiquoGuard group, respectively.

Conclusion The LiquoGuard device is a more superior way of CSF drainage in suspected NPH patients, with reduced morbidity and length of stay.

The value of ventricular measurements in the prediction of shunt dependency after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1545–1555

Chronic hydrocephalus requiring shunt placement is a common complication of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Different risk factors and prediction scores for post-SAH shunt dependency have been evaluated so far. We analyzed the value of ventricle measurements for prediction of the need for shunt placement in SAH patients.

Methods Eligible SAH cases treated between 01/2003 and 06/2016 were included. Initial computed tomography scans were reviewed to measure ventricle indices (bifrontal, bicaudate, Evans’, ventricular, Huckman’s, and third ventricle ratio). Previously introduced CHESS and SDASH scores for shunt dependency were calculated. Receiver operating characteristic analyses were performed for diagnostic accuracy of the ventricle indices and to identify the clinically relevant cut-offs.

Results Shunt placement followed in 221 (36.5%) of 606 patients. In univariate analyses, all ventricular indices were associated with shunting (all: p<0.0001). The area under the curve (AUC) ranged between 0.622 and 0.662. In multivariate analyses, only Huckman’s index was associated with shunt dependency (cut-off at ≥6.0cm, p<0.0001) independent of the CHESS score as baseline prediction model. A combined score (0–10 points) containing the CHESS score components (0–8 points) and Huckman’s index (+2 points) showed better diagnostic accuracy (AUC=0.751) than the CHESS (AUC=0.713) and SDASH (AUC=0.693) scores and the highest overall model quality (0.71 vs. 0.65 and 0.67), respectively.

Conclusions Ventricle measurements are feasible for early prediction of shunt placement after SAH. The combined prediction model containing the CHESS score and Huckman’s index showed remarkable diagnostic accuracy regarding identification of SAH individuals requiring shunt placement. External validation of the presented combined CHESS-Huckman score is mandatory.

Internal Ventricular Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunt for Adult Hydrocephalus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Infection Rate

Hydrocephalus is a common neurological condition that usually requires internal ventricular cerebrospinal fluid shunt (IVCSFS). The reported infection rate (IR) varies greatly from below 1% up to over 50%, but no meta-analysis to assess the overall IR has ever been performed.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the IVCSFS overall IR in the adult population and search for associated factors.

METHODS: Six databases were searched from January 1990 to July 2022. Only original articles reporting on adult IVCSFS IR were included. Random-effects meta-analysis with generalized linear mixed model method and logit transformation was used to assess the overall IR. RESULTS: Of 1703 identified articles, 44 were selected, reporting on 57259 patients who had IVCSFS implantation and 2546 infections. The pooled IR value and its 95% CI were 4.75%, 95% CI (3.8 to 5.92). Ninety-five percent prediction interval ranged from 1.19% to 17.1%. The patients who had IVCSFS after intracranial hemorrhage showed a higher IR (7.65%, 95% CI [5.82 to 10], P-value = .002). A meta-regression by year of publication found a decreasing IR (À0.031, 95% CI [À0.06 to 0.003], P-value = .032) over the past 32 years.

CONCLUSION: IVCSF is a procedure that every neurosurgeon should be well trained to perform. However, the complication rate remains high, with an estimated overall IR of 4.75%. The IR is especially elevated for hydrocephalic patients who require IVCSFS after intracranial hemorrhage. However, decades of surgical advances may have succeeded in reducing IR over the past 32 years.

Neurosurgery 92:894–904, 2023

Placebo-Controlled Effectiveness of Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Shunting

Neurosurgery 92:481–489, 2023

Multiple prospective nonrandomized studies have shown 60% to 70% of patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) improve with shunt surgery, but multicenter placebo-controlled trial data are necessary to determine its effectiveness.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of cerebrospinal fluid shunting in iNPH through comparison of open vs placebo shunting groups at 4 months using a pilot study.

METHODS: Patients were randomized to a Codman Certas Plus valve (Integra LifeSciences) set at 4 (open shunt group) or 8 (“virtual off”; placebo group). Patients and assessors were blinded to treatment group. The primary outcome measure was 10-m gait velocity. Secondary outcome measures included functional scales for bladder control, activities of daily living, depression, and quality of life. Immediately after 4-month evaluation, all shunts were adjusted in a blinded fashion to an active setting and followed to 12months after shunting.

RESULTS: A total of 18 patients were randomized. At the 4-month evaluation, gait velocity increased by 0.28 ± 0.28m/s in the open shunt group vs 0.04 ± 0.17m/s in the placebo group. The estimated treatment difference was 0.22 m/s ([P = .071], 95% CI 0.02 to 0.46). Overactive Bladder Short Form symptom bother questionnaire significantly improved in open shunt vs placebo (P = .007). The 4-month treatment delay did not reduce the subsequent response to active shunting, nor did it increase the adverse advents rate at 12 months.

CONCLUSION: This multicenter, randomized pilot study demonstrates the effectiveness, safety, and feasibility of a placebo-controlled trial in iNPH, and found a trend suggesting gait velocity improves more in the open shunt group than in the placebo group.

First Experience With Postoperative Transcranial Ultrasound Through Sonolucent Burr Hole Covers in Adult Hydrocephalus Patients

Neurosurgery 92:382–390, 2023

Managing patients with hydrocephalus and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) disorders requires repeated head imaging. In adults, it is typically computed tomography (CT) or less commonly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, CT poses cumulative radiation risks and MRI is costly. Ultrasound is a radiation-free, relatively inexpensive, and optionally point-of-care alternative, but is prohibited by very limited windows through an intact skull.

OBJECTIVE: To describe our initial experience with transcutaneous transcranial ultrasound through sonolucent burr hole covers in postoperative hydrocephalus and CSF disorder patients.

METHODS: Using cohort study design, infection and revision rates were compared between patients who underwent sonolucent burr hole cover placement during new ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement and endoscopic third ventriculostomy over the 1-year study time period and controls from the period 1 year before. Postoperatively, trans-burr hole ultrasound was performed in the clinic, at bedside inpatient, and in the radiology suite to assess ventricular anatomy.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients with sonolucent burr hole cover were compared with 57 historical control patients. There was no statistically significant difference in infection rates between the sonolucent burr hole cover group (1/37, 2.7%) and the control group (0/57, P = .394). Revision rates were 13.5% vs 15.8% (P = 1.000), but no revisions were related to the burr hole or cranial hardware.

CONCLUSION: Trans-burr hole ultrasound is feasible for gross evaluation of ventricular caliber postoperatively in patients with sonolucent burr hole covers. There was no increase in infection rate or revision rate. This imaging technique may serve as an alternative to CT and MRI in the management of select patients with hydrocephalus and CSF disorders.

Vascular risk profiles for predicting outcome and long-term mortality in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: comparison of clinical decision support tools

J Neurosurg 138:476–482, 2023

Vascular risk factors (VRFs) may act synergistically, and clinical decision support tools (CDSTs) have been developed that present vascular risk as a summarized score. Because VRFs are a major issue in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH), a CDST may be useful in the diagnostic workup. The objective was to compare 4 CDSTs to determine which one most accurately predicts short-term outcome and 10-year mortality after CSF shunt surgery in INPH patients.

METHODS One-hundred forty INPH patients who underwent CSF shunt surgery were included. For each patient, 4 CDST scores (Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation–Older Persons [SCORE-OP], Framingham Risk Score [FRS], Revised Framingham Stroke Risk Profile, and Kiefer’s Comorbidity Index [KCI]) were estimated. Short-term outcome (3 months after CSF shunt surgery) was defined on the basis of improvements in gait, Mini-Mental State Examination score, and modified Rankin Scale score. The 10-year mortality rate after surgery was noted. The CDSTs were compared by using Cox regression analysis, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, and the chi-square test.

RESULTS For 3 CDSTs, increased score was associated with increased risk of 10-year mortality. A 1-point increase in the FRS indicated a 2% higher risk of death within 10 years (HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.003–1.035, p = 0.021); SCORE-OP, 5% (HR 1.05, 95% CI 1.019–1.087, p = 0.002); and KCI, 12% (HR 1.12, 95% CI 1.03–1.219, p = 0.008). FRS predicted short-term outcome of surgery (p = 0.024). When the cutoff value was set to 32.5%, the positive predictive value was 80% and the negative predictive value was 48% (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSIONS The authors recommend using FRS to predict short-term outcome and 10-year risk of mortality in INPH patients. The study indicated that extensive treatment of the risk factors of INPH may decrease risk of mortality.

The positive impact of cisternostomy with cisternal drainage on delayed hydrocephalus after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:187–195

Hydrocephalus is one of the major complications of aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH). In the acute setting, an external ventricular drain (EVD) is used for early management. A cisternal drain (CD) coupled with the micro-surgical opening of basal cisterns can be an alternative when the aneurysm is clipped. Chronic hydrocephalus after aSAH is managed with ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) shunt, a procedure associated with a wide range of complications. The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of microsurgical opening of basal cisterns coupled with CD on the incidence of VP shunt, compared to patients treated with EVD.

Methods The authors conducted a retrospective review of 89 consecutive cases of patients with aSAH treated surgically and endovascularly with either EVD or CD between January 2009 and September 2021. Patients were stratified into two groups: Group 1 included patients with EVD, Group 2 included patients with CD. Subgroup analysis with only patients treated surgically was also performed. We compared their baseline characteristics, clinical outcomes and shunting rates.

Results There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of epidemiological characteristics, WFNS score, Fisher scale, presence of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), acute hydrocephalus, postoperative meningitis or of clinical outcomes at last follow-up. Cisternostomy with CD (Group 2) was associated with a statistically significant reduction in VP-shunt compared with the use of an EVD (Group 1) (9.09% vs 53.78%; p < 0.001). This finding was confirmed in our subgroup analysis, as among patients with a surgical clipping, the rate of VP shunt was 43.7% for the EVD group and 9.5% for the CD group (p = 0.02).

Conclusions Cisternostomy with CD may reduce the rate of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus. Cisternostomy allows the removal of subarachnoid blood, thereby reducing arachnoid inflammation and fibrosis. CD may enhance this effect, thus resulting in lower rates of chronic hydrocephalus.

Keywords Cisternostomy · Cisternal drain · External ventricular drain · Aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage · Hydrocephalus · Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt

Failure of Internal Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunt: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Overall Prevalence in Adults

World Neurosurg. (2023) 169:20-30

Reported rates of failures of internal cerebrospinal fluid shunt (ICSFS) vary greatly from less than 5% to more than 50% and no meta-analysis to assess the overall prevalence has been performed. We estimated the failure rate after ICSFS insertion and searched for associated factors.

METHODS: Six databases were searched from January 1990 to February 2022. Only original articles reporting the rate of adult shunt failure were included. Random-effects meta-analysis with a generalized linear mixed model method and logit transformation was used to compute the overall failure prevalence. Subgroup analysis and meta-regression were implemented to search for associated factors.

RESULTS: Of 1763 identified articles, 46 were selected, comprising 70,859 ICSFS implantations and 13,603 shunt failures, suggesting an accumulated incidence of 19.2%. However, the calculated pooled prevalence value and its 95% confidence interval (CI) were 22.7% (95% CI, 19.8e5.8). The CI of the different estimates did not overlap, indicating a strong heterogeneity confirmed by a high I 2 of 97.5% (95% CI, 97.1e97.8; P < 0.001; s 2 [ 0.3). Ninety-five percent prediction interval of shunt failure prevalence ranged from 8.75% to 47.36%. A meta-regression of prevalence of publication found a barely significant decreasing failure rate of about 2% per year (e2.11; 95% CI, e4.02 to e0.2; P [ 0.031).

CONCLUSIONS: Despite being a simple neurosurgical procedure, ICSFS insertion has one of the highest risk of complications, with failure prevalence involving more than 1 patient of 5. Nonetheless, all efforts to lower this high level of shunt failure seem to be effective.

Cerebrospinal fluid and venous biomarkers of shunt‐responsive idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: a systematic review and meta‐analysis

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1719–1746

Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is a neurodegenerative disease and dementia subtype involving disturbed cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) homeostasis. Patients with iNPH may improve clinically following CSF diversion through shunt surgery, but it remains a challenge to predict which patients respond to shunting. It has been proposed that CSF and blood biomarkers may be used to predict shunt response in iNPH.

Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify which CSF and venous biomarkers predict shunt- responsive iNPH most accurately.

Methods Original studies that investigate the use of CSF and venous biomarkers to predict shunt response were searched using the following databases: Embase, MEDLINE, Scopus, PubMed, Google Scholar, and JSTOR. Included studies were assessed using the ROBINS-I tool, and eligible studies were evaluated utilising univariate meta-analyses.

Results The study included 13 studies; seven addressed lumbar CSF levels of amyloid-β 1–42, nine studies CSF levels of Total-Tau, six studies CSF levels of Phosphorylated-Tau, and seven studies miscellaneous biomarkers, proteomics, and genotyping. A meta-analysis of six eligible studies conducted for amyloid-β 1–42, Total-Tau, and Phosphorylated-Tau demonstrated significantly increased lumbar CSF Phosphorylated-Tau (− 0.55 SMD, p = 0.04) and Total-Tau (− 0.50 SMD, p = 0.02) in shunt-non-responsive iNPH, though no differences were seen between shunt responders and non-responders for amyloid-β 1–42 (− 0.26 SMD, p = 0.55) or the other included biomarkers.

Conclusion This meta-analysis found that lumbar CSF levels of Phosphorylated-Tau and Total-Tau are significantly increased in shunt non-responsive iNPH compared to shunt-responsive iNPH. The other biomarkers, including amyloid-β 1–42, did not significantly differentiate shunt-responsive from shunt-non-responsive iNPH. More studies on the Tau proteins examining sensitivity and specificity at different cut-off levels are needed for a robust analysis of the diagnostic efficiency of the Tau proteins.

Effect of topical and intraventricular antibiotics used during ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion on the rate of shunt infection—a meta‐analysis

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1793–1803

The ventriculoperitoneal shunt is one of the most commonly performed neurosurgical procedures. One of the avoidable complications of shunt surgery is shunt infection. This PRISMA-compliant meta-analysis analysed the effectiveness of topical and/or intraventricular antibiotics in preventing shunt infections in patients undergoing shunt surgery.

Methods Four databases were searched from inception to 30th June 2021. Only original articles comparing the rate of shunt infection with and without antibiotics were included. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to compare the effect of the use of antibiotics in preventing infection and subgroup analysis for finding differences in various antibiotics.

Results The rate of shunt infection was 2.24% (53 out of 2362) in the topical antibiotic group in comparison to 5.24% (145 out of 2764) in the control group (p = 0.008). Subgroup analysis revealed that there is no significant difference between the antibiotics used.

Conclusions Our meta-analysis found that the risk of shunt infection is significantly reduced with the use of topical and intraventricular antibiotics without any serious adverse effect. No side effects of topical or intraventricular antibiotics were reported in the included studies. Further prospective studies are required to establish the safety and optimal dosage of topical antibiotics for them to be used routinely in neurosurgical practice. They can be used in patients at high risk of developing shunt infections till such studies are available.

Is external hydrocephalus a possible differential diagnosis when child abuse is suspected?

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1161–1172

Criteria for diagnosing abusive head trauma (AHT) or “shaken baby syndrome” are not well defined; consequently, these conditions might be diagnosed on failing premises.

Methods The authors have collected a total of 28 infants, from the US (20) and Norway (8), suspected of having been violently shaken, and their caregivers had been suspected, investigated, prosecuted or convicted of having performed this action. Among 26 symptomatic infants, there were 18 boys (69%) and 8 girls (31%)—mean age 5.1 month, without age difference between genders.

Results Twenty-one of 26 symptomatic children (81%) had a head circumference at or above the 90 percentile, and 18 had a head circumference at or above the 97 percentile. After macrocephaly, seizure was the most frequent initial symptom in 13 (50%) of the symptomatic infants. Seventeen (65%) of the symptomatic infants had bilateral retinal haemorrhages, and two had unilateral retinal haemorrhages. All infants had neuroimaging compatible with chronic subdural haematomas/hygromas as well as radiological characteristics compatible with benign external hydrocephalus (BEH).

Conclusions BEH with subdural haematomas/hygromas in infants may sometimes be misdiagnosed as abusive head trauma. Based on the authors’ experience and findings of the study, the following measures are suggested to avoid this diagnostic pitfall: medical experts in infant abuse cases should be trained in recognising clinical and radiological BEH features, clinicians with neuro-paediatric experience should always be included in the expert teams and reliable information about the head circumference development from birth should always be available.

Prediction of Shunt Responsiveness in Suspected Patients With Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Using the Lumbar Infusion Test: A Machine Learning Approach

Neurosurgery 90:407–418, 2022

Machine learning (ML) approaches can significantly improve the classical Rout -based evaluation of the lumbar infusion test (LIT) and the clinical management of the normal pressure hydrocephalus.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a ML model that accurately identifies patients as candidates for permanent cerebral spinal fluid shunt implantation using only intracranial pressure and electrocardiogram signals recorded throughout LIT.

METHODS: This was a single-center cohort study of prospectively collected data of 96 patients who underwent LIT and 5-day external lumbar cerebral spinal fluid drainage (external lumbar drainage) as a reference diagnostic method. A set of selected 48 intracranial pressure/ electrocardiogram complex signal waveform features describing nonlinear behavior, wavelet transform spectral signatures, or recurrent map patterns were calculated for each patient. After applying a leave-one-out cross-validation training–testing split of the data set, we trained and evaluated the performance of various state-of-the-art ML algorithms.

RESULTS: The highest performing ML algorithm was the eXtreme Gradient Boosting. This model showed a good calibration and discrimination on the testing data, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.891 (accuracy: 82.3%, sensitivity: 86.1%, and specificity: 73.9%) obtained for 8 selected features. Our ML model clearly outperforms the classical Rout based manual classification commonly used in clinical practice with an accuracy of 62.5%.

CONCLUSION: This study successfully used the ML approach to predict the outcome of a 5-day external lumbar drainage and hence which patients are likely to benefit from permanent shunt implantation. Our automated ML model thus enhances the diagnostic utility ofLIT in management.

Reducing the risks of proximal and distal shunt failure in adult hydrocephalus

J Neurosurg 136:877–886, 2022

Patient outcomes of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery, the mainstay treatment for hydrocephalus in adults, are poor because of high shunt failure rates. The use of neuronavigation or laparoscopy can reduce the risks of proximal or distal shunt catheter failure, respectively, but has less independent effect on overall shunt failures. No adult studies to date have combined both approaches in the setting of a shunt infection prevention protocol to reduce shunt failure. The goal of this study was to determine whether combining neuronavigation and laparoscopy with a shunt infection prevention strategy would reduce the incidence of shunt failures in adult hydrocephalic patients.

METHODS Adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) undergoing VP shunt surgery at a tertiary care institution prior to (pre–Shunt Outcomes [ShOut]) and after (post-ShOut) the start of a prospective continuous quality improvement (QI) study were compared. Pre-ShOut patients had their proximal and distal catheters placed under conventional freehand approaches. Post-ShOut patients had their shunts inserted with neuronavigational and laparoscopy assistance in placing the distal catheter in the perihepatic space (falciform technique). A shunt infection reduction protocol had been instituted 1.5 years prior to the start of the QI initiative. The primary outcome of interest was the incidence of shunt failure (including infection) confirmed by standardized criteria indicating shunt revision surgery.

RESULTS There were 244 (115 pre-ShOut and 129 post-ShOut) patients observed over 7 years. With a background of shunt infection prophylaxis, combined neuronavigation and laparoscopy was associated with a reduction in overall shunt failure rates from 37% to 14%, 45% to 22%, and 51% to 29% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively (HR 0.44, p < 0.001). Shunt infection rates decreased from 8% in the pre-ShOut group to 0% in the post-ShOut group. There were no proximal catheter failures in the post-ShOut group. The 2-year rates of distal catheter failure were 42% versus 20% in the pre- and post-ShOut groups, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Introducing a shunt infection prevention protocol, placing the proximal catheter under neuronavigation, and placing the peritoneal catheter in the perihepatic space by using the falciform technique led to decreased rates of infection, distal shunt failure, and overall shunt failure.

Ventriculoatrial Shunts: Review of Technical Aspects and Complications

World Neurosurg. (2022) 158:158-164.

Diversion of cerebrospinal fluid is required in many neurosurgical conditions. When a standard ventriculoperitoneal shunt and endoscopic third ventriculostomy are not appropriate options, placement of a ventriculoatrial shunt is a safe, relatively familiar second-line shunting procedure.

Herein we reviewed the technical aspects of ventriculoatrial shunt placement using an illustrative case. We focused on the different modalities for inserting and confirming the location of the distal catheter tip. We discussed how to overcome typical difficulties and significant concerns, such as cardiac arrhythmias and venous thrombosis. In addition, we reviewed the current literature for the different complications associated with ventriculoatrial shunt placement

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