Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has become a common alternative for managing hydrocephalus in select patients. Nevertheless, there is still controversy regarding the indications for ETV as the primary procedure, given its variable success rates. The purpose of this study is to review the authors' experience with ETV for a variety of patients.
A total of 43 children underwent ETV between July 1992 and June 2003. Their medical records, operative reports, and imaging studies, when available, were retrospectively reviewed with regard to outcome, complications, and patency rate. Treatment failure was defined as the need to place a shunt within 4 weeks of performing ETV in the patient.
There were 20 male and 23 female patients with a mean age of 9.6 years (range 8 weeks–21 years). The overall success rate was 69.8%, and the mean follow-up duration was 24.6 months. Six patients underwent eight repeated ETVs at a mean interval of 25 months, with a patency rate of 62.5% after the second procedure. Only two surgeries were aborted for anatomical reasons. The highest success rates (100% in each instance) were achieved for obstructive hydrocephalus resulting from midbrain/tectal tumor (four patients) and pineal tumor (three patients).
The ETV procedure is an effective management tool for obstructive hydrocephalus in children. It should be considered the primary procedure, rather than ventriculoperitoneal shunts, in carefully selected children. The success rate is dependent on the origin of the hydrocephalus.