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Randaline R. Barnett, Allie L. Harbert, Hengameh B. Pajer, Angela Wabulya, Valerie L. Jewells, Scott W. Elton, and Carolyn S. Quinsey


In this study, the authors sought to investigate variables associated with postoperative seizures following endoscopic third ventriculostomy and choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) for treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus.


A retrospective analysis of 37 patients who underwent ETV/CPC for treatment of hydrocephalus at an academic medical center from September 2016 to March 2021 was conducted. Demographics, etiology of hydrocephalus, operative details, electroencephalography (EEG) data, MRI findings, need for subsequent procedures, perioperative laboratory tests, medical history, and presence of clinical postoperative seizures were collected. Postoperative seizures were defined as clinical seizures within 24 hours of surgery. Eighteen patients received levetiracetam intraoperatively as well as over the next 7 days postoperatively for seizure prophylaxis.


Of 37 included patients, 9 (24%) developed clinical seizures within 24 hours after surgery, 5 of whom subsequently had electroclinical seizures captured on video-EEG. The clinical seizures in 4 of those 5 patients (80%) may have been associated with the hemisphere of the brain through which the endoscope was introduced. The median corrected age of the cohort was 3.4 months. The median corrected age of patients who did not develop postoperative seizures was 2.3 months compared with 0.7 months for patients who did develop postoperative seizures (p > 0.99). Postoperative seizures occurred in 43% (3/7) of prenatally repaired myelomeningocele patients versus 29% (2/7) of postnatally repaired myelomeningocele patients. Of the 18 patients who received prophylactic levetiracetam, none (0%) developed postoperative seizures compared with 9 of the 19 patients (47%) who did not receive prophylactic levetiracetam (p = 0.014).


Postoperative seizures were recorded in 24% of the pediatric patients who underwent ETV/CPC for hydrocephalus, which is higher than previously reported rates in the literature of 5%. Since 80% of the postoperative electrographic seizures may have been associated with the hemisphere through which the endoscope was introduced, the surgical entry site may contribute to postoperative seizure development. In patients who received prophylactic perioperative levetiracetam, the postoperative seizure incidence dropped to 0% compared with 47% in those who did not receive prophylactic perioperative levetiracetam. This finding indicates that the use of prophylactic perioperative levetiracetam may be efficacious in the prevention of clinical seizures in this patient population.