Claudia L. Craven, Roshini Ramkumar, Linda D’Antona, Simon D. Thompson, Lewis Thorne, Laurence D. Watkins and Ahmed K. Toma
Chronic ventriculomegaly in the absence of raised intracranial pressure (ICP) is a known entity in adult hydrocephalus practice. The natural history and indication for treatment is, however, poorly defined. A highly heterogeneous group, some adults with ventriculomegaly are asymptomatic, while others have life-threatening deteriorations. The authors hypothesized that the various presentations can be subtyped and represent different stages of decompensation. A cluster analysis was performed on a cohort of patients with chronic ventriculomegaly with the aim of elucidating typical clinical characteristics and outcomes in chronic ventriculomegaly in adults.
Data were collected from 79 patients with chronic ventriculomegaly referred to a single center, including demographics, presenting symptoms, and 24-hour ICP monitoring (ICPM). A statistical cluster analysis was performed to determine the presence of subgroups.
Four main subgroups and one highly dissimilar group were identified. Patients with ventriculomegaly commonly have a perinatal event followed by one of four main presentations: 1) incidental ventriculomegaly with or without headache; 2) highly symptomatic presentation (including reduced consciousness) and raised ICP; 3) early presenting with symptoms of headache and nausea (with abnormal pulsatility); and 4) late presenting with features common to normal pressure hydrocephalus. Each symptomatic group has characteristic radiological features, ICPM, and responses to treatment.
Cluster analysis has identified subgroups of adult patients with ventriculomegaly. Such groups may represent various degrees of decompensation. Surgical interventions may not be equally effective across the subgroups, presenting an avenue for further research. The identified subtypes provide further insight into the natural history of this lesser studied form of hydrocephalus.
Debayan Dasgupta, Linda D’Antona, Daniel Aimone Cat, Ahmed K. Toma, Carmel Curtis, Laurence D. Watkins and Lewis Thorne
Temporary CSF diversion through an external ventricular drain (EVD) comes with the risk of EVD-related infections (ERIs). The incidence of ERIs varies from 0.8% to 22%. ERIs increase mortality, morbidity, length of stay, and costs; require prolonged courses of antibiotics; and increase the need for subsequent permanent CSF diversion. The authors report the results of a quality improvement project designed to improve infection rates and EVD placement using simulation training in addition to a standardized perioperative care bundle. This project resulted not only in a decrease in ERIs, but also a significant improvement in surgical outcomes.
A best-practice standardized perioperative approach and care bundle was approved by consensus among the senior neurosurgeons at the authors’ institution, and a standardized operative note was designed to encourage adherence to policy and improve documentation. This approach was adapted from the bundle previously described by Kubilay et al. Simulation workshops were introduced to teach safe sampling technique, administration of intrathecal drugs, and a standardized operative technique using the Rowena head surgical model. Effects of the interventions on placement, infection rates, and displacement were measured at two distinct time points over a 2-year period.
Baseline audits demonstrated satisfactory EVD placement in 74%, an infection rate of 8.5%, and displacement occurring in 20%. In the 2 years following the interventions, satisfactory placement improved to 96%, infection rate fell to 4.8%, and inadvertent displacement occurred in only 1.7%.
Simulation training and standardizing the perioperative care of patients requiring EVDs dramatically improved placement accuracy, reduced infection rates, and reduced EVD displacement rate.