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Nir Lipsman, Abhaya V. Kulkarni and Osaama H. Khan

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Han Yan, Taylor J. Abel, Naif M. Alotaibi, Melanie Anderson, Toba N. Niazi, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, John H. Phillips, Christopher R. Forrest, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

In this systematic review and meta-analysis the authors aimed to directly compare open surgical and endoscope-assisted techniques for the treatment of sagittal craniosynostosis, focusing on the outcomes of blood loss, transfusion rate, length of stay, operating time, complication rate, cost, and cosmetic outcome.

METHODS

A literature search was performed in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant articles were identified from 3 electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL [Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials]) from their inception to August 2017. The quality of methodology and bias risk were assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies. Effect estimates between groups were calculated as standardized mean differences with 95% CIs. Random and fixed effects models were used to estimate the overall effect.

RESULTS

Of 316 screened records, 10 met the inclusion criteria, of which 3 were included in the meta-analysis. These studies reported on 303 patients treated endoscopically and 385 patients treated with open surgery. Endoscopic surgery was associated with lower estimated blood loss (p < 0.001), shorter length of stay (p < 0.001), and shorter operating time (p < 0.001). From the literature review of the 10 studies, transfusion rates for endoscopic procedures were consistently lower, with significant differences in 4 of 6 studies; the cost was lower, with differences ranging from $11,603 to $31,744 in 3 of 3 studies; and the cosmetic outcomes were equivocal (p > 0.05) in 3 of 3 studies. Finally, endoscopic techniques demonstrated complication rates similar to or lower than those of open surgery in 8 of 8 studies.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic procedures are associated with lower estimated blood loss, operating time, and days in hospital. Future long-term prospective registries may establish advantages with respect to complications and cost, with equivalent cosmetic outcomes. Larger studies evaluating patient- or parent-reported satisfaction and optimal timing of intervention as well as heterogeneity in outcomes are indicated.

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Han Yan, Taylor J. Abel, Naif M. Alotaibi, Melanie Anderson, Toba N. Niazi, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, John H. Phillips, Christopher R. Forrest, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

Despite increasing adoption of endoscopic techniques for repair of nonsagittal single-suture craniosynostosis, the efficacy and safety of the procedure relative to established open approaches are unknown. In this systematic review the authors aimed to directly compare open surgical and endoscope-assisted techniques for the treatment of metopic, unilateral coronal, and lambdoid craniosynostosis, with an emphasis on quantitative reported outcomes.

METHODS

A literature search was performed in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant articles were identified from 3 electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL [Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials]) from their inception to August 2017. The quality of methodology and bias risk were assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies.

RESULTS

Of 316 screened records, 7 studies were included in a qualitative synthesis of the evidence, of which none were eligible for meta-analysis. These reported on 111 unique patients with metopic, 65 with unilateral coronal, and 12 with lambdoid craniosynostosis. For all suture types, 100 (53%) children underwent endoscope-assisted craniosynostosis surgery and 32 (47%) patients underwent open repair. These studies all suggest that blood loss, transfusion rate, operating time, and length of hospital stay were superior for endoscopically treated children. Although potentially comparable or better cosmetic outcomes are reported, the paucity of evidence and considerable variability in outcomes preclude meaningful conclusions.

CONCLUSIONS

Limited data comparing open and endoscopic treatments for metopic, unilateral coronal, and lambdoid synostosis suggest a benefit for endoscopic techniques with respect to blood loss, transfusion, length of stay, and operating time. This report highlights shortcomings in evidence and gaps in knowledge regarding endoscopic repair of nonsagittal single-suture craniosynostosis, emphasizing the need for further matched-control studies.

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Tamara D. Simon, Matthew P. Kronman, Kathryn B. Whitlock, Nancy E. Gove, Nicole Mayer-Hamblett, Samuel R. Browd, D. Douglas Cochrane, Richard Holubkov, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Marcie Langley, David D. Limbrick Jr., Thomas G. Luerssen, W. Jerry Oakes, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Curtis Rozzelle, Chevis Shannon, Mandeep Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

CSF shunt infection requires both surgical and antibiotic treatment. Surgical treatment includes either total shunt removal with external ventricular drain (EVD) placement followed by new shunt insertion, or distal shunt externalization followed by new shunt insertion once the CSF is sterile. Antibiotic treatment includes the administration of intravenous antibiotics. The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) registry provides a unique opportunity to understand reinfection following treatment for CSF shunt infection. This study examines the association of surgical and antibiotic decisions in the treatment of first CSF shunt infection with reinfection.

METHODS

A prospective cohort study of children undergoing treatment for first CSF infection at 7 HCRN hospitals from April 2008 to December 2012 was performed. The HCRN consensus definition was used to define CSF shunt infection and reinfection. The key surgical predictor variable was surgical approach to treatment for CSF shunt infection, and the key antibiotic treatment predictor variable was intravenous antibiotic selection and duration. Cox proportional hazards models were constructed to address the time-varying nature of the characteristics associated with shunt surgeries.

RESULTS

Of 233 children in the HCRN registry with an initial CSF shunt infection during the study period, 38 patients (16%) developed reinfection over a median time of 44 days (interquartile range [IQR] 19–437). The majority of initial CSF shunt infections were treated with total shunt removal and EVD placement (175 patients; 75%). The median time between infection surgeries was 15 days (IQR 10–22). For the subset of 172 infections diagnosed by CSF culture, the mean ± SD duration of antibiotic treatment was 18.7 ± 12.8 days. In all Cox proportional hazards models, neither surgical approach to infection treatment nor overall intravenous antibiotic duration was independently associated with reinfection. The only treatment decision independently associated with decreased infection risk was the use of rifampin. While this finding did not achieve statistical significance, in all 5 Cox proportional hazards models both surgical approach (other than total shunt removal at initial CSF shunt infection) and nonventriculoperitoneal shunt location were consistently associated with a higher hazard of reinfection, while the use of ultrasound was consistently associated with a lower hazard of reinfection.

CONCLUSIONS

Neither surgical approach to treatment nor antibiotic duration was associated with reinfection risk. While these findings did not achieve statistical significance, surgical approach other than total removal at initial CSF shunt infection was consistently associated with a higher hazard of reinfection in this study and suggests the feasibility of controlling and standardizing the surgical approach (shunt removal with EVD placement). Considerably more variation and equipoise exists in the duration and selection of intravenous antibiotic treatment. Further consideration should be given to the use of rifampin in the treatment of CSF shunt infection. High-quality studies of the optimal duration of antibiotic treatment are critical to the creation of evidence-based guidelines for CSF shunt infection treatment.

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Robert P. Naftel, Jessica S. Alvey, Ron W. Reeder, Richard Holubkov, Samuel R. Browd, D. Douglas Cochrane, David D. Limbrick Jr., Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

High-quality data comparing endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) to shunt and ETV alone in North America are greatly lacking. To address this, the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) conducted a prospective study of ETV+CPC in infants. Here, these prospective data are presented and compared to prospectively collected data from a historical cohort of infants treated with shunt or ETV alone.

METHODS

From June 2014 to September 2015, infants (corrected age ≤ 24 months) requiring treatment for hydrocephalus with anatomy suitable for ETV+CPC were entered into a prospective study at 9 HCRN centers. The rate of procedural failure (i.e., the need for repeat hydrocephalus surgery, hydrocephalus-related death, or major postoperative neurological deficit) was determined. These data were compared with a cohort of similar infants who were treated with either a shunt (n = 969) or ETV alone (n = 74) by creating matched pairs on the basis of age and etiology. These data were obtained from the existing prospective HCRN Core Data Project. All patients were observed for at least 6 months.

RESULTS

A total of 118 infants underwent ETV+CPC (median corrected age 1.3 months; common etiologies including myelomeningocele [30.5%], intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity [22.9%], and aqueductal stenosis [21.2%]). The 6-month success rate was 36%. The most common complications included seizures (5.1%) and CSF leak (3.4%). Important predictors of treatment success in the survival regression model included older age (p = 0.002), smaller preoperative ventricle size (p = 0.009), and greater degree of CPC (p = 0.02). The matching algorithm resulted in 112 matched pairs for ETV+CPC versus shunt alone and 34 matched pairs for ETV+CPC versus ETV alone. ETV+CPC was found to have significantly higher failure rate than shunt placement (p < 0.001). Although ETV+CPC had a similar failure rate compared with ETV alone (p = 0.73), the matched pairs included mostly infants with aqueductal stenosis and miscellaneous other etiologies but very few patients with intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity.

CONCLUSIONS

Within a large and broad cohort of North American infants, our data show that overall ETV+CPC appears to have a higher failure rate than shunt alone. Although the ETV+CPC results were similar to ETV alone, this comparison was limited by the small sample size and skewed etiological distribution. Within the ETV+CPC group, greater extent of CPC was associated with treatment success, thereby suggesting that there are subgroups who might benefit from the addition of CPC. Further work will focus on identifying these subgroups.

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Aria Fallah, Alexander G. Weil, Kyle Juraschka, George M. Ibrahim, Anthony C. Wang, Louis Crevier, Chi-hong Tseng, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, John Ragheb and Sanjiv Bhatia

OBJECTIVE

Combined endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETC) and choroid plexus cauterization (CPC)—ETV/CPC— is being investigated to increase the rate of shunt independence in infants with hydrocephalus. The degree of CPC necessary to achieve improved rates of shunt independence is currently unknown.

METHODS

Using data from a single-center, retrospective, observational cohort study involving patients who underwent ETV/CPC for treatment of infantile hydrocephalus, comparative statistical analyses were performed to detect a difference in need for subsequent CSF diversion procedure in patients undergoing partial CPC (describes unilateral CPC or bilateral CPC that only extended from the foramen of Monro [FM] to the atrium on one side) or subtotal CPC (describes CPC extending from the FM to the posterior temporal horn bilaterally) using a rigid neuroendoscope. Propensity scores for extent of CPC were calculated using age and etiology. Propensity scores were used to perform 1) case-matching comparisons and 2) Cox multivariable regression, adjusting for propensity score in the unmatched cohort. Cox multivariable regression adjusting for age and etiology, but not propensity score was also performed as a third statistical technique.

RESULTS

Eighty-four patients who underwent ETV/CPC had sufficient data to be included in the analysis. Subtotal CPC was performed in 58 patients (69%) and partial CPC in 26 (31%). The ETV/CPC success rates at 6 and 12 months, respectively, were 49% and 41% for patients undergoing subtotal CPC and 35% and 31% for those undergoing partial CPC. Cox multivariate regression in a 48-patient cohort case-matched by propensity score demonstrated no added effect of increased extent of CPC on ETV/CPC survival (HR 0.868, 95% CI 0.422–1.789, p = 0.702). Cox multivariate regression including all patients, with adjustment for propensity score, demonstrated no effect of extent of CPC on ETV/CPC survival (HR 0.845, 95% CI 0.462–1.548, p = 0.586). Cox multivariate regression including all patients, with adjustment for age and etiology, but not propensity score, demonstrated no effect of extent of CPC on ETV/CPC survival (HR 0.908, 95% CI 0.495–1.664, p = 0.755).

CONCLUSIONS

Using multiple comparative statistical analyses, no difference in need for subsequent CSF diversion procedure was detected between patients in this cohort who underwent partial versus subtotal CPC. Further investigation regarding whether there is truly no difference between partial versus subtotal extent of CPC in larger patient populations and whether further gain in CPC success can be achieved with complete CPC is warranted.

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Ghassan Awad Elkarim, Naif M. Alotaibi, Nardin Samuel, Shelly Wang, George M. Ibrahim, Aria Fallah, Alexander G. Weil and Abhaya V. Kulkarni

OBJECTIVE

A recent survey has shown that caregivers of children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus frequently use social media networks for support and information gathering. The objective of this study is to describe and assess social media utilization among users interested in hydrocephalus.

METHODS

Publicly accessible accounts and videos dedicated to the topic of hydrocephalus were comprehensively searched across 3 social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) throughout March 2016. Summary statistics were calculated on standard metrics of social media popularity. A categorization framework to describe the purpose of pages, groups, accounts, channels, and videos was developed following the screening of 100 titles. Categorized data were analyzed using nonparametric tests for statistical significance.

RESULTS

The authors’ search identified 30 Facebook pages, 213 Facebook groups, 17 Twitter accounts, and 253 YouTube videos. These platforms were run by patients, caregivers, nonprofit foundations, and patient support groups. Most accounts were from the United States (n = 196), followed by the United Kingdom (n = 31), Canada (n = 17), India (n = 15), and Germany (n = 12). The earliest accounts were created in 2007, and a peak of 65 new accounts were created in 2011. The total number of users in Facebook pages exceeded those in Facebook groups (p < 0.001). The majority of users in Facebook groups were in private groups, in contrast to public groups (p < 0.001). The YouTube videos with the highest median number of views were for surgical products and treatment procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

This study presents novel observations into the characteristics of social media use in the topic of hydrocephalus. Users interested in hydrocephalus seek privacy for support communications and are attracted to treatment procedure and surgical products videos. These findings provide insight into potential avenues of hydrocephalus outreach, support, or advocacy in social media.

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John C. Wellons III, Chevis N. Shannon, Richard Holubkov, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, David D. Limbrick Jr., William Whitehead, Samuel Browd, Curtis Rozzelle, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, W. Jerry Oakes, James Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, John Kestle and For the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Previous Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) retrospective studies have shown a 15% difference in rates of conversion to permanent shunts with the use of ventriculosubgaleal shunts (VSGSs) versus ventricular reservoirs (VRs) as temporization procedures in the treatment of hydrocephalus due to high-grade intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) of prematurity. Further research in the same study line revealed a strong influence of center-specific decision-making on shunt outcomes. The primary goal of this prospective study was to standardize decision-making across centers to determine true procedural superiority, if any, of VSGS versus VR as a temporization procedure in high-grade IVH of prematurity.

METHODS

The HCRN conducted a prospective cohort study across 6 centers with an approximate 1.5- to 3-year accrual period (depending on center) followed by 6 months of follow-up. Infants with premature birth, who weighed less than 1500 g, had Grade 3 or 4 IVH of prematurity, and had more than 72 hours of life expectancy were included in the study. Based on a priori consensus, decisions were standardized regarding the timing of initial surgical treatment, upfront shunt versus temporization procedure (VR or VSGS), and when to convert a VR or VSGS to a permanent shunt. Physical examination assessment and surgical technique were also standardized. The primary outcome was the proportion of infants who underwent conversion to a permanent shunt. The major secondary outcomes of interest included infection and other complication rates.

RESULTS

One hundred forty-five premature infants were enrolled and met criteria for analysis. Using the standardized decision rubrics, 28 infants never reached the threshold for treatment, 11 initially received permanent shunts, 4 were initially treated with endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), and 102 underwent a temporization procedure (36 with VSGSs and 66 with VRs). The 2 temporization cohorts were similar in terms of sex, race, IVH grade, head (orbitofrontal) circumference, and ventricular size at temporization. There were statistically significant differences noted between groups in gestational age, birth weight, and bilaterality of clot burden that were controlled for in post hoc analysis. By Kaplan-Meier analysis, the 180-day rates of conversion to permanent shunts were 63.5% for VSGS and 74.0% for VR (p = 0.36, log-rank test). The infection rate for VSGS was 14% (5/36) and for VR was 17% (11/66; p = 0.71). The overall compliance rate with the standardized decision rubrics was noted to be 90% for all surgeons.

CONCLUSIONS

A standardized protocol was instituted across all centers of the HCRN. Compliance was high. Choice of temporization techniques in premature infants with IVH does not appear to influence rates of conversion to permanent ventricular CSF diversion. Once management decisions and surgical techniques are standardized across HCRN sites, thus minimizing center effect, the observed difference in conversion rates between VSGSs and VRs is mitigated.

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Shelly Wang, Scellig Stone, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, Benjamin C. Warf, John Ragheb, Sanjiv Bhatia and Abhaya V. Kulkarni

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV)/choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) has become an increasingly common technique for the treatment of infant hydrocephalus. Both flexible and rigid neuroendoscopy can be used, with little empirical evidence directly comparing the two. Therefore, the authors used a propensity score–matched cohort and survival analysis to assess the comparative efficacy of flexible and rigid neuroendoscopy.

METHODS

Individual data were collected through retrospective review of infants younger than 2 years of age, treated at 1 of 2 hospitals: 1) Boston Children's Hospital, exclusively utilizing flexible neuroendoscopy, and 2) Nicklaus Children's Hospital-Jackson Memorial Hospital, exclusively utilizing rigid neuroendoscopy. Patient characteristics and postoperative outcomes were assessed. A propensity score model was developed to balance patient characteristics in the case mix.

RESULTS

A propensity score model for neuroendoscope type was developed with 5 independent variables: chronological age, sex, hydrocephalus etiology, prior CSF diversion, and prepontine scarring. Propensity score decile-adjusted and 1-to-1 nearest-neighbor matching analysis revealed that compared with flexible neuroendoscopy, rigid neuroendoscopy had an ETV/CPC failure odds ratio (OR) of 1.43 (p = 0.31) and 1.31 (p = 0.47), respectively, compared with an unadjusted OR of 2.40 (p = 0.034). Furthermore, in a Cox regression analysis controlled by propensity score, rigid neuroendoscopy had a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.10 (p = 0.70), compared with an unadjusted HR of 1.61 (p = 0.031).

CONCLUSIONS

Although unadjusted analysis suggested worse ETV/CPC outcomes for infants treated by rigid neuroendoscopy, much of the difference could be attributed to the case mix and other predictors of outcome. A larger sample observational study or randomized controlled trials are required to provide evidence-based guidelines on ETV/CPC technique.

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William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, John C. Wellons III, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, David D. Limbrick Jr., Samuel R. Browd, Robert P. Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, Tamara D. Simon, Richard Holubkov, Anna Illner, D. Douglas Cochrane, James M. Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, W. Jerry Oakes and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

Accurate placement of ventricular catheters may result in prolonged shunt survival, but the best target for the hole-bearing segment of the catheter has not been rigorously defined. The goal of the study was to define a target within the ventricle with the lowest risk of shunt failure.

METHODS

Five catheter placement variables (ventricular catheter tip location, ventricular catheter tip environment, relationship to choroid plexus, catheter tip holes within ventricle, and crosses midline) were defined, assessed for interobserver agreement, and evaluated for their effect on shunt survival in univariate and multivariate analyses. De-identified subjects from the Shunt Design Trial, the Endoscopic Shunt Insertion Trial, and a Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network study on ultrasound-guided catheter placement were combined (n = 858 subjects, all first-time shunt insertions, all patients < 18 years old). The first postoperative brain imaging study was used to determine ventricular catheter placement for each of the catheter placement variables.

RESULTS

Ventricular catheter tip location, environment, catheter tip holes within the ventricle, and crosses midline all achieved sufficient interobserver agreement (κ > 0.60). In the univariate survival analysis, however, only ventricular catheter tip location was useful in distinguishing a target within the ventricle with a survival advantage (frontal horn; log-rank, p = 0.0015). None of the other catheter placement variables yielded a significant survival advantage unless they were compared with catheter tips completely not in the ventricle. Cox regression analysis was performed, examining ventricular catheter tip location with age, etiology, surgeon, decade of surgery, and catheter entry site (anterior vs posterior). Only age (p < 0.001) and entry site (p = 0.005) were associated with shunt survival; ventricular catheter tip location was not (p = 0.37). Anterior entry site lowered the risk of shunt failure compared with posterior entry site by approximately one-third (HR 0.65, 95% CI 0.51–0.83).

CONCLUSIONS

This analysis failed to identify an ideal target within the ventricle for the ventricular catheter tip. Unexpectedly, the choice of an anterior versus posterior catheter entry site was more important in determining shunt survival than the location of the ventricular catheter tip within the ventricle. Entry site may represent a modifiable risk factor for shunt failure, but, due to inherent limitations in study design and previous clinical research on entry site, a randomized controlled trial is necessary before treatment recommendations can be made.