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David Ben-Israel, Jennifer A. Mann, Michael M. H. Yang, Albert M. Isaacs, Magalie Cadieux, Nicholas Sader, Sandeep Muram, Abdulrahman Albakr, Branavan Manoranjan, Richard W. Yu, Benjamin Beland, Mark G. Hamilton, Eldon Spackman, Paul E. Ronksley, and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy and choroid plexus cauterization (ETV+CPC) is a novel procedure for infant hydrocephalus that was developed in sub-Saharan Africa to mitigate the risks associated with permanent implanted shunt hardware. This study summarizes the hydrocephalus literature surrounding the ETV+CPC intraoperative abandonment rate, perioperative mortality rate, cerebrospinal fluid infection rate, and failure rate.

METHODS

This systematic review and meta-analysis followed a prespecified protocol and abides by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A comprehensive search strategy using MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychInfo, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Scopus, and Web of Science was conducted from database inception to October 2019. Studies included controlled trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies of patients with hydrocephalus younger than 18 years of age treated with ETV+CPC. Pooled estimates were calculated using DerSimonian and Laird random-effects modeling, and the significance of subgroup analyses was tested using meta-regression. The quality of the pooled outcomes was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

RESULTS

After screening and reviewing 12,321 citations, the authors found 16 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The pooled estimate for the ETV+CPC failure rate was 0.44 (95% CI 0.37–0.51). Subgroup analysis by geographic income level showed statistical significance (p < 0.01), with lower-middle-income countries having a lower failure rate (0.32, 95% CI 0.28–0.36) than high-income countries (0.53, 95% CI 0.47–0.60). No difference in failure rate was found between hydrocephalus etiology (p = 0.09) or definition of failure (p = 0.24). The pooled estimate for perioperative mortality rate (n = 7 studies) was 0.001 (95% CI 0.00–0.004), the intraoperative abandonment rate (n = 5 studies) was 0.04 (95% CI 0.01–0.08), and the postoperative CSF infection rate (n = 5 studies) was 0.0004 (95% CI 0.00–0.003). All pooled outcomes were found to be low-quality evidence.

CONCLUSIONS

This systematic review and meta-analysis provides the most comprehensive pooled estimate for the ETV+CPC failure rate to date and demonstrates, for the first time, a statistically significant difference in failure rate by geographic income level. It also provides the first reported pooled estimates for the risk of ETV+CPC perioperative mortality, intraoperative abandonment, and CSF infection. The low quality of this evidence highlights the need for further research to improve the understanding of these critical clinical outcomes and their relevant explanatory variables and thus to appreciate which patients may benefit most from an ETV+CPC.

Systematic review registration no.: CRD42020160149 (https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/)