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William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Samuel Browd, David Limbrick, Curtis Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, Tamara D. Simon, Chevis N. Shannon, Richard Holubkov, W. Jerry Oakes, Thomas G. Luerssen, Marion L. Walker, James M. Drake and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Shunt survival may improve when ventricular catheters are placed into the frontal horn or trigone of the lateral ventricle. However, techniques for accurate catheter placement have not been developed. The authors recently reported a prospective study designed to test the accuracy of catheter placement with the assistance of intraoperative ultrasound, but the results were poor (accurate placement in 59%). A major reason for the poor accurate placement rate was catheter movement that occurred between the time of the intraoperative ultrasound image and the first postoperative scan (33% of cases). The control group of non–ultrasound using surgeons also had a low rate of accurate placement (accurate placement in 49%). The authors conducted an exploratory post hoc analysis of patients in their ultrasound study to identify factors associated with either catheter movement or poor catheter placement so that improved surgical techniques for catheter insertion could be developed.

Methods

The authors investigated the following risk factors for catheter movement and poor catheter placement: age, ventricular size, cortical mantle thickness, surgeon experience, surgeon experience with ultrasound prior to trial, shunt entry site, shunt hardware at entry site, ventricular catheter length, and use of an ultrasound probe guide for catheter insertion. Univariate analysis followed by multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine which factors were independent risk factors for either catheter movement or inaccurate catheter location.

Results

In the univariate analyses, only age < 6 months was associated with catheter movement (p = 0.021); cortical mantle thickness < 1 cm was near-significant (p = 0.066). In a multivariate model, age remained significant after adjusting for cortical mantle thickness (OR 8.35, exact 95% CI 1.20–infinity). Univariate analyses of factors associated with inaccurate catheter placement showed that age < 6 months (p = 0.001) and a posterior shunt entry site (p = 0.021) were both associated with poor catheter placement. In a multivariate model, both age < 6 months and a posterior shunt entry site were independent risk factors for poor catheter placement (OR 4.54, 95% CI 1.80–11.42, and OR 2.59, 95% CI 1.14–5.89, respectively).

Conclusions

Catheter movement and inaccurate catheter placement are both more likely to occur in young patients (< 6 months). Inaccurate catheter placement is also more likely to occur in cases involving a posterior shunt entry site than those involving an anterior shunt entry site. Future clinical studies aimed at improving shunt placement techniques must consider the effects of young age and choice of entry site on catheter location.

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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.

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Jay Riva-Cambrin, Chevis N. Shannon, Richard Holubkov, William E. Whitehead, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James Drake, Tamara D. Simon, Samuel R. Browd, John R. W. Kestle and John C. Wellons III

Object

There is little consensus regarding the indications for surgical CSF diversion (either with implanted temporizing devices [reservoir or subgaleal shunt] or shunt alone) in preterm infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus. The authors determined clinical and neuroimaging factors associated with the use of surgical CSF diversion among neonates with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), and describe variations in practice patterns across 4 large pediatric centers.

Methods

The use of implanted temporizing devices and conversion to permanent shunts was examined in a consecutive sample of 110 neonates surgically treated for IVH related to prematurity from the 4 clinical centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN). Clinical, neuroimaging, and so-called processes of care factors were analyzed.

Results

Seventy-three (66%) of the patients underwent temporization procedures, including 50 ventricular reservoir and 23 subgaleal shunt placements. Center (p < 0.001), increasing ventricular size (p = 0.04), and bradycardia (p = 0.07) were associated with the use of an implanted temporizing device, whereas apnea, occipitofrontal circumference (OFC), and fontanel assessments were not. Implanted temporizing devices were converted to permanent shunts in 65 (89%) of the 73 neonates. Only a full fontanel (p < 0.001) and increased ventricular size (p = 0.002) were associated with conversion of the temporizing devices to permanent shunts, whereas center, OFCs, and clot characteristics were not.

Conclusions

Considerable center variability exists in neurosurgical approaches to temporization of IVH in prematurity within the HCRN; however, variation between centers is not seen with permanent shunting. Increasing ventricular size—rather than classic clinical findings such as increasing OFCs—represents the threshold for either temporization or shunting of CSF.

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Chevis N. Shannon, Tamara D. Simon, Gavin T. Reed, Frank A. Franklin, Russell S. Kirby, Meredith L. Kilgore and John C. Wellons III

Object

Detailed costs to individuals with hydrocephalus and their families as well as to third-party payers have not been previously described. The purpose of this study was to determine the primary caregiver out-of-pocket expenses and the third-party payer reimbursement rate associated with a shunt failure episode.

Methods

A retrospective study of children born between 2000 and 2005 who underwent initial ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement and who subsequently experienced a shunt failure requiring surgical intervention within 2 years of their initial shunt placement was conducted. Institutional reimbursement and demographic data from Children's Hospital of Alabama (CHA) were augmented with a caregiver survey of any out-of pocket expenses encountered during the shunt failure episode. Institutional reimbursements and caregiver out-of-pocket expenses were then combined to provide the cost for a shunt failure episode at CHA.

Results

For shunt failures, the median reimbursement total was $5008 (interquartile range [IQR] $2068–$17,984), the median caregiver out-of-pocket expenses was $419 (IQR $251–$1112), and the median total cost was $5411 (IQR $2428–$18,582). Private insurance reimbursed at a median rate of $5074 (IQR $2170–$14,852) compared with public insurance, which reimbursed at a median rate of $4800 (IQR $1876–$19,395). Caregivers with private insurance reported a median $963 (IQR $322–$1741) for out-of-pocket expenses, whereas caregivers with public insurance reported a median $391 (IQR $241–$554) for out-of-pocket expenses (p = 0.017).

Conclusions

This study confirmed that private insurance reimbursed at a higher rate, and that although patients had a shorter length of stay as compared with those with public insurance, their out-of-pocket expenses associated with a shunt failure episode were greater. However, it could not be determined if the significant difference in out-of-pocket expenses between those with private and those with public insurance was due directly to the cost of shunt failure. This model does not take into consideration community resources and services available to those with public insurance. These resources and services could offset the out-of-pocket burden, and therefore should be considered in future cost models.

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John R. W. Kestle, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, William E. Whitehead, Marion L. Walker, W. Jerry Oakes, James M. Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, Tamara D. Simon and Richard Holubkov

Object

Quality improvement techniques are being implemented in many areas of medicine. In an effort to reduce the ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection rate, a standardized protocol was developed and implemented at 4 centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN).

Methods

The protocol was developed sequentially by HCRN members using the current literature and prior institutional experience until consensus was obtained. The protocol was prospectively applied at each HCRN center to all children undergoing a shunt insertion or revision procedure. Infections were defined on the basis of CSF, wound, or pseudocyst cultures; wound breakdown; abdominal pseudocyst; or positive blood cultures in the presence of a ventriculoatrial shunt. Procedures and infections were measured before and after protocol implementation.

Results

Twenty-one surgeons at 4 centers performed 1571 procedures between June 1, 2007, and February 28, 2009. The minimum follow-up was 6 months. The Network infection rate decreased from 8.8% prior to the protocol to 5.7% while using the protocol (p = 0.0028, absolute risk reduction 3.15%, relative risk reduction 36%). Three of 4 centers lowered their infection rate. Shunt surgery after external ventricular drainage (with or without prior infection) had the highest infection rate. Overall protocol compliance was 74.5% and improved over the course of the observation period. Based on logistic regression analysis, the use of BioGlide catheters (odds ratio [OR] 1.91, 95% CI 1.19–3.05; p = 0.007) and the use of antiseptic cream by any members of the surgical team (instead of a formal surgical scrub by all members of the surgical team; OR 4.53, 95% CI 1.43–14.41; p = 0.01) were associated with an increased risk of infection.

Conclusions

The standardized protocol for shunt surgery significantly reduced shunt infection across the HCRN. Overall protocol compliance was good. The protocol has established a common baseline within the Network, which will facilitate assessment of new treatments. Identification of factors associated with infection will allow further protocol refinement in the future.

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John C. Wellons III, Chevis N. Shannon, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Tamara D. Simon, Jay Riva-Cambrin, William E. Whitehead, W. Jerry Oakes, James M. Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, Marion L. Walker, John R. W. Kestle and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

Object

The purpose of this study was to define the incidence of permanent shunt placement and infection in patients who have undergone the 2 most commonly performed temporizing procedures for posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH) of prematurity: ventriculosubgaleal (VSG) shunt placement and ventricular reservoir placement for intermittent tapping.

Methods

The 4 centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network participated in a retrospective chart review of infants with PHH who underwent treatment at each institution between 2001 and 2006. Patients were included if they had received a diagnosis of Grade 3 or 4 intraventricular hemorrhage, weighed < 1500 g at birth, and had received surgical intervention. The authors determined the incidence of conversion from a temporizing device to a permanent shunt, the incidence of CSF infection during temporization, and the 6-month CSF infection rate after permanent shunt placement.

Results

Thirty-one (86%) of 36 patients who received VSG shunts and 61 (69%) of 88 patients who received ventricular reservoirs received permanent CSF diversion with a shunt (p = 0.05). Five patients (14%) in the VSG shunt group had CSF infections during temporization, compared with 11 patients (13%) in the ventricular reservoir group (p = 0.83). The 6-month incidence of permanent shunt infection in the VSG shunt group was 16% (5 of 31), compared with 12% (7 of 61) in the reservoir placement group (p = 0.65). For the first 6 months after permanent shunt placement, infants with no preceding temporizing procedure had an infection rate of 5% (1 of 20 infants) and those who had undergone a temporizing procedure had an infection rate of 13% (12 of 92; p = 0.45).

Conclusions

The use of intermittent tapping of ventricular reservoirs in this population appears to lead to a lower incidence of permanent shunt placement than the use of VSG shunts. The incidence of infection during temporization and for the initial 6 months after conversion appears comparable for both groups. The apparent difference identified in this pilot study requires confirmation in a more rigorous study.