Founder of modern hydrocephalus diagnosis and therapy: Walter Dandy at the Johns Hopkins Hospital

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Because of his exceptional and pioneering contributions to the understanding and treatment of neurosurgical conditions, Walter Dandy is considered to be one of the founders of both neurosurgery and neuroradiology. In the field of hydrocephalus, Dandy developed revolutionary research models, imaging modalities, and operative procedures. His laboratory and clinical experiences at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, including the surgical treatment of hydrocephalus, are well illustrated in the publications he authored. Archival materials housed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine provide a window into Dandy’s clinical experience and supplement the work published during his lifetime. His operative experience with hydrocephalus spanned 1915–1946 and comprised 381 surgeries. From this clinical experience, Dandy created much of the framework for modern diagnostic imaging and treatment of hydrocephalus.

ABBREVIATIONS CSF = cerebrospinal fluid.

Article Information

Correspondence Ari M. Blitz: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD. ablitz1@jhmi.edu.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online October 19, 2018; DOI: 10.3171/2018.4.JNS172316.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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    Drs. Dandy and Blackfan successfully obstructed the aqueduct of Sylvius in a canine model by deploying a piece of cotton housed in a small gelatin capsule. Courtesy of The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

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    The first page of Dandy’s case log, 1915, at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Courtesy of The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

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    Nurse’s notebook page detailing the operating room equipment requirements for Dandy’s cases. The cases, “Trephine and Air Injection” and “Spine Air Injection,” describe air ventriculography and pneumoencephalography, respectively. Courtesy of The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Figure is available in color online only.

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    Dandy and his surgical team performing ventriculography, 1946. Courtesy of The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

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    Dandy’s hydrocephalus cases per year at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1915 to 1946. The y-axis indicates the number of cases per year. Figure is available in color online only.

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    Dandy’s cumulative operative experience from 1915 to 1946 for the treatment of hydrocephalus. The y-axis indicates the cumulative number of cases. Figure is available in color online only.

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