Ahmed K. Toma, Muhammad Dherijha, Neil D. Kitchen and Laurence D. Watkins
The lumboperitoneal (LP) shunt with the adjustable PS Medical Strata NSC LP valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter was introduced in the authors' unit in 2007. The object of this study was to audit the unit's experience with this new shunt system.
The authors performed a retrospective review of the clinical records of patients who underwent Strata NSC LP shunt insertion. Demographic and clinical data as well as information about complications and revisions were reported.
Between August 2007 and November 2009, 20 patients underwent placement of an LP shunt with an adjustable Strata NSC valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter at the authors' institution. Their mean age was 40.3 years and the mean duration of follow-up was 12 months. Preoperatively, 18 patients had headache and 15 patients had visual signs and symptoms. Fourteen of the 18 patients with preoperative headache did not complain of headache postoperatively, and 4 had headache that was found not to be related to shunt function. Two of the patients with preoperative visual complaints had ongoing visual problems postoperatively. None of the patients had infection or subdural hematoma. The only overdrainage symptoms occurred in association with spontaneous readjustment of the valve and resolved when the valve was reset.
Thirteen patients (65%) did not require shunt revision. Seven patients (35%) required 13 shunt exploration or revision procedures, mainly due to distal obstruction. Placement of an LP shunt failed to completely resolve the raised intracranial pressure problem in 2 patients.
The use of the Strata NSC valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter is effective in treating pseudotumor cerebri and is beneficial in terms of markedly reducing overdrainage complications compared with other reported series of cases in which an LP shunt has been placed. However, the use of the Strata NSC valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter did not have a marked impact on other causes of shunt failure, particularly distal obstruction.
Ahmed K. Toma, Andrew Tarnaris, Neil D. Kitchen and Laurence D. Watkins
Managing symptomatic ventriculoperitoneal shunts with no clear evidence of shunt malfunction either clinically or radiologically can be a difficult task. The aim of this study was to assess intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring as a method of investigating shunt function.
The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 38 continuous ICP monitoring procedures done in patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunts and suspected shunt malfunction.
Thirty-eight procedures were performed in 31 patients between January 2005 and October 2008. Sixteen recordings were normal, 6 revealed overdrainage or low pressure, 11 indicated underdrainage or high pressure, and 5 showed variable shunt function. Based on the findings after 20 procedures (53%), patients were treated conservatively: 4 by readjusting the valve setting and 16 by referral to the headache neurologist for medical treatment. Forty-five percent of the conservatively treated patients improved. Surgical exploration was undertaken following 18 procedures (47%); 72% of the surgically treated patients improved.
Continuous ICP monitoring using an intraparenchymal probe is a safe and effective method of investigating adult hydrocephalus.
Ahmed K. Toma, Andrew Tarnaris, Joan P. Grieve, Laurence D. Watkins and Neil D. Kitchen
In this paper, the authors' goal was to compare the artifact induced by implanted (in vivo) adjustable shunt valves in spin echo, diffusion weighted (DW), and gradient echo MR imaging pulse sequences.
The MR images obtained in 8 patients with proGAV and 6 patients with Strata II adjustable shunt valves were assessed for artifact areas in different planes as well as the total volume for different pulse sequences.
Artifacts induced by the Strata II valve were significantly larger than those induced by proGAV valve in spin echo MR imaging pulse sequence (29,761 vs 2450 mm3 on T2-weighted fast spin echo, p = 0.003) and DW images (100,138 vs 38,955 mm3, p = 0.025). Artifacts were more marked on DW MR images than on spin echo pulse sequencse for both valve types.
Adjustable valve–induced artifacts can conceal brain pathology on MR images. This should influence the choice of valve implantation site and the type of valve used. The effect of artifacts on DW images should be highlighted pending the development of less MR imaging artifact–inducing adjustable shunt valves.
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.
Hasan Asif, Claudia L. Craven, Almas H. Siddiqui, Syed N. Shah, Samir A. Matloob, Lewis Thorne, Fergus Robertson, Laurence D. Watkins and Ahmed K. Toma
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is commonly associated with venous sinus stenosis. In recent years, transvenous dural venous sinus stent (DVSS) insertion has emerged as a potential therapy for resistant cases. However, there remains considerable uncertainty over the safety and efficacy of this procedure, in particular the incidence of intraprocedural and delayed complications and in the longevity of sinus patency, pressure gradient obliteration, and therapeutic clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to determine clinical, radiological, and manometric outcomes at 3–4 months after DVSS in this treated IIH cohort.
Clinical, radiographic, and manometric data before and 3–4 months after DVSS were reviewed in this single-center case series. All venographic and manometric procedures were performed under local anesthesia with the patient supine.
Forty-one patients underwent DVSS venography/manometry within 120 days. Sinus pressure reduction of between 11 and 15 mm Hg was achieved 3–4 months after DVSS compared with pre-stent baseline, regardless of whether the procedure was primary or secondary (after shunt surgery). Radiographic obliteration of anatomical stenosis correlating with reduction in pressure gradients was observed. The complication rate after DVSS was 4.9% and stent survival was 87.8% at 120 days. At least 20% of patients developed restenosis following DVSS and only 63.3% demonstrated an improvement or resolution of papilledema.
Reduced venous sinus pressures were observed at 120 days after the procedure. DVSS showed lower complication rates than shunts, but the clinical outcome data were less convincing. To definitively compare the outcomes between DVSS and shunts in IIH, a randomized prospective study is needed.