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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Jerry Butler, Samuel R. Browd, James M. Drake, Richard Holubkov, John R. W. Kestle, David D. Limbrick, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

Object

The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN), which comprises 7 pediatric neurosurgical centers in North America, provides a unique multicenter assessment of the current outcomes of CSF shunting in nonselected patients. The authors present the initial results for this cohort and compare them with results from prospective multicenter trials performed in the 1990s.

Methods

Analysis was restricted to patients with newly diagnosed hydrocephalus undergoing shunting for the first time. Detailed perioperative data from 2008 through 2012 for all HCRN centers were prospectively collected and centrally stored by trained research coordinators. Historical control data were obtained from the Shunt Design Trial (1993–1995) and the Endoscopic Shunt Insertion Trial (1996–1999). The primary outcome was time to first shunt failure, which was determined by using Cox regression survival analysis.

Results

Mean age of the 1184 patients in the HCRN cohort was older than mean age of the 720 patients in the historical cohort (2.51 years vs 1.60 years, p < 0.0001). The distribution of etiologies differed (p < 0.0001, chi-square test); more tumors and fewer myelomeningoceles caused the hydrocephalus in the HCRN cohort patients. The hazard ratio for first shunt failure significantly favored the HCRN cohort, even after the model was adjusted for the prognostic effects of age and etiology (adjusted HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.69–0.96).

Conclusions

Current outcomes of shunting in general pediatric neurosurgery practice have improved over those from the 1990s, although the reasons remain unclear.