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Accuracy of percutaneous placement of a ventriculoatrial shunt under ultrasonography guidance: a retrospective study at a single institution

Technical note

Philippe Metellus, Wesley Hsu, Siddharth Kharkar, Sumit Kapoor, William Scott, and Daniele Rigamonti

The authors report their experience using preoperative chest radiography and intraoperative ultrasonography for percutaneous positioning of the distal end of the catheter when placing ventriculoatrial (VA) shunts in patients with hydrocephalus. The distal portion of VA shunt catheters were percutaneously placed into the internal jugular vein with the aid of intraoperative ultrasonography in 14 consecutive adults. In all cases, the technique was easy, there were no postoperative complications, and postoperative chest radiography demonstrated good positioning of the distal catheter tip. One patient presented with a shunt infection and needed a shunt replacement. The authors therefore conclude that percutaneous placement of a VA shunt under preoperative radiographic guidance and ultrasonographic monitoring is a safe, effective, and reliable technique that is simple to learn.

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Bilateral retinal hemorrhage after endoscopic third ventriculostomy: iatrogenic Terson syndrome

Case report

Eelco W. Hoving, Mehrnoush Rahmani, Leonie I. Los, and Victor W. Renardel de Lavalette

A serious ophthalmological complication of an endoscopic third ventriculostomy that created an iatrogenic Terson syndrome is described. A patient with an obstructive hydrocephalus was treated endoscopically, but due to the inadvertent use of a pressure bag during rinsing, in combination with a blocked outflow channel, a steep rise in intracranial pressure occurred. Postoperatively the patient experienced disturbed vision caused by bilateral retinal hemorrhages, and an iatrogenic Terson syndrome was diagnosed. The pathogenesis of Terson syndrome is discussed based on this illustrative case.

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Burying shunts in bone cavities to protect delicate scalp

Technical note

Michael Ellis, Merdas Al-Otibi, Peter Bray, and Mark Bernstein

The authors describe a simple technique for protecting at-risk scalp overlying CSF shunt hardware. Patients with brain tumors commonly undergo radiation therapy and CSF diversion. Chronic radiation-induced changes in the skin can predispose patients to skin breakdown over the prominent shunt reservoir, which may lead to subsequent contamination of the shunt hardware. The technique described reduces the risk of hardware contamination while obviating the need for revision of the entire shunt system. By reducing the profile of the CSF shunt reservoir, this technique also reduces the risk of future skin ulceration.

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Is the distance between mammillary bodies predictive of a thickened third ventricle floor?

Clinical article

Corrado Iaccarino, Enrico Tedeschi, Armando Rapanà, Ilario Massarelli, Giuseppe Belfiore, Mario Quarantelli, and Alfredo Bellotti

Object

The aim of this study was to correlate intraoperative endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) findings in hydrocephalic patients with the MR imaging appearance of the mammillary bodies (MBs), the fundamental anatomical landmarks of the third ventricle floor (TVF) region.

Methods

The authors reviewed brain MR images and intraoperative ETV records in 23 patients with hydrocephalus as well as MR imaging data from 120 randomized control volunteers of various ages to define the normal intermammillary distance (IMD).

Results

In control volunteers, no measurable IMD (“kissing” configuration) was observed in 91 (85%) of 107 cases, and there was mild MB splitting (mean ± standard deviation, 0.18 ± 0.12 cm) in only 16 cases with age-related cerebral atrophy. Among the 21 patients with complete MR imaging and ETV data sets, 12 ETV procedures were hindered by anatomical anomalies such as a thickened TVF or an “upward ballooning” phenomenon. On preoperative MR imaging in these 12 patients, there was an increased IMD (0.55 ± 0.41 cm) compared with that in the remaining 9 patients (0.27 ± 0.25 cm) who had a normal thin TVF during ETV and in the control group (0.03 ± 0.08 cm). Magnetic resonance imaging and ETV data concordantly displayed nonsplit MBs in 6 of 9 cases with a thin TVF and split MBs in 10 of 12 cases with a thick TVF.

Conclusions

The normal configuration of MBs is no measurable IMD, with mild splitting occurring in patients with age-related brain atrophy. In hydrocephalic patients, a thickened TVF was present almost exclusively with an increased IMD on preoperative MR imaging and separated MBs on endoscopic viewing. Large retrospective series are needed to confirm that a preoperative increased IMD is predictive of a thickened TVF during ETV.

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Noninvasive biomarkers in normal pressure hydrocephalus: evidence for the role of neuroimaging

A review

Andrew Tarnaris, Neil D. Kitchen, and Laurence D. Watkins

Object

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) represents a treatable form of dementia. Recent estimates of the incidence of this condition are in the region of 5% of patients with dementia. The symptoms of NPH can vary among individuals and may be confused with those of patients with multi-infarct dementia, dementia of the Alzheimer type, or even Parkinson disease. Traditionally the diagnosis of NPH could only be confirmed postoperatively by a favorable outcome to surgical diversion of CSF. The object of this literature review was to examine the role of structural and functional imaging in providing biomarkers of favorable surgical outcome.

Methods

A Medline search was undertaken for the years 1980–2006, using the following terms: normal pressure hydrocephalus, adult hydrocephalus, chronic hydrocephalus, imaging, neuroimaging, imaging studies, outcomes, surgical outcomes, prognosis, prognostic value, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy.

Results

The query revealed 16 studies that correlated imaging with surgical outcomes offering accuracy results. Three studies fulfilled the statistical criteria of a biomarker. A dementia Alzheimer-type pattern on SPECT in patients with idiopathic NPH, the presence of CSF flow void on MR imaging, and the N-acetylaspartate/choline ratio in patients with the secondary form are able to predict surgical outcomes with high accuracy.

Conclusions

There is at present Level A evidence for using MR spectroscopy in patients with secondary NPH, and Level B evidence for using SPECT and phase-contrast MR imaging to select patients with idiopathic NPH for shunt placement. The studies, however, need to be repeated by other groups. The current work should act as a platform to design further studies with larger sample sizes.

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The role of endoscopic third ventriculostomy in adult patients with hydrocephalus

Clinical article

Michael D. Jenkinson, Caroline Hayhurst, Mohammed Al-Jumaily, Jothy Kandasamy, Simon Clark, and Conor L. Mallucci

Object

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is the treatment of choice for hydrocephalus, but the outcome is dependent on the cause of this disorder, and the procedure remains principally the preserve of pediatric neurosurgeons. The role of ETV in adult patients with hydrocephalus was therefore investigated.

Methods

One hundred ninety adult patients underwent ETV for hydrocephalus. Cases were defined as primary ETV (newly diagnosed, without a previously placed shunt) and secondary ETV (performed for shunt malfunctions due to infection or mechanical blockage). Causes of hydrocephalus included tumor, long-standing overt ventriculomegaly (LOVA), Chiari malformation Types I and II (CM-I and -II), aqueduct stenosis, spina bifida, and intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). Successful ETV was defined as resolution of symptoms with shunt independence. Operative complications and ETV failure rate were investigated according to the causes of hydrocephalus and between the primary and secondary ETV groups.

Results

In the primary group, ETV was successful in 107 (83%) of 129 patients, including those with tumors (52 of 66), LOVA (21 of 24), CM-I (11 of 11 cases), CM-II (8 of 9), aqueduct stenosis (8 of 9), and IVH (2 of 2). In the secondary group, ETV was successful in 41 (67%) of 61 patients and was equally successful in cases of mechanical shunt malfunction (35 of 52 patients) and infected shunt malfunction (6 of 9 patients). The median time to ETV failure was 1.7 months in the primary group and 0.5 months in the secondary group. The majority of ETV failures occurred within the first 3 months, and thereafter, the Kaplan-Meier survival curves plateaued. There were no procedure-related deaths, and complications were seen in only 5.8% of cases.

Conclusions

The success rate of ETVs in adults is comparable, if not better, than in children. In addition to the well-defined role of ETV in the treatment of hydrocephalus caused by tumors and aqueduct stenosis, ETV may also have a role in the management of CM-I, LOVA, persistent shunt infection, and IVH resistant to other CSF diversion procedures.