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  • Author or Editor: Alan S. Boulos x
  • By Author: Gandhi, Ravi H. x
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John C. Dalfino, Matthew A. Adamo, Ravi H. Gandhi, Alan S. Boulos and John B. Waldman

Object

The optimal management of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt in the setting of acute, non–shunt related abdominal and pelvic infections is unknown. In the literature, distal shunt catheter reimplantation with or without a variable period of externalization has been recommended to prevent ascending ventriculitis. While this strategy is effective, there is little to almost no published data suggesting that it is necessary in all cases. Furthermore, it is not clear that shunt externalization to an external drainage bag during the treatment of non–shunt related peritonitis is any less likely to lead to ventriculitis than leaving the catheter in place. In the authors' experience, shunt externalization or revision during an episode of acute, non–shunt related peritonitis is unnecessary to prevent ventriculitis or chronic peritonitis.

Methods

In the present case series, the authors report on 7 patients whose shunts were left in the abdomen while they were treated for acute peritonitis. The patients were followed clinically for up to 21 months after the diagnosis to assess for evidence of recurrent abdominal infections, shunt infections, or shunt failure.

Results

In a follow-up period ranging from 13 to 22 months, no patient developed ventriculitis, required a shunt revision, or was unable to clear the peritoneal infection.

Conclusions

The results of this small series suggest that leaving the distal end of a shunt catheter in place in a patient with acute peritonitis is a reasonably safe choice in specific patients, provided the source of infection is aggressively treated with systemic antibiotics and local debridement when necessary.

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Tyler J. Kenning, M. Reid Gooch, Ravi H. Gandhi, M. Parvez Shaikh, Alan S. Boulos and John W. German

Object

Recent randomized trials have demonstrated a positive role (improved survival) in patients treated with cranial decompression for malignant cerebral infarction. However, many variables regarding operative decompression in this setting remain to be determined. Hinge craniotomy is an alternative to decompressive craniectomy, but its role in space-occupying cerebral infarctions has not been delineated. The objective of this study was to compare the authors' experiences with these 2 procedures in the management of space-occupying cerebral infarctions to determine the efficacy of each.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 28 cases involving patients who underwent cranial decompression (hinge craniotomy in 9 cases, decompressive craniectomy in 19) for treatment of malignant intracranial hypertension after ischemic cerebral infarction.

Results

No significant differences were identified in baseline demographics, neurological examination, or Rotterdam score between the hinge craniotomy and decompressive craniectomy groups. Both treatments resulted in adequate control of intracranial pressure (ICP). The need for reoperation for persistent intracranial hypertension and duration of mechanical ventilation and intensive care unit stay were similar. Hospital survival was significantly higher in the decompressive craniectomy group (89% vs 56%), whereas long-term functional outcome was better in the hinge craniotomy group. Cranial defect size was comparable in the 2 groups. Postoperative imaging revealed a higher rate of subarachnoid hemorrhage, contusion/hematoma progression, and subdural effusions/hygromas after decompressive craniectomy. The requirement for cranial revision in survivors was higher for patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy (100%) than those undergoing hinge craniotomy (20%).

Conclusions

Hinge craniotomy appears to be at least as good as decompressive craniectomy in providing postoperative ICP control at a similar therapeutic index. Although the in-hospital mortality was higher in patients treated with hinge craniotomy, that procedure resulted in superior long-term functional outcomes and may help limit postoperative complications.