Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) may be complicated by hydrocephalus in 6.5%–67% of cases. Some patients with aSAH develop shunt dependency, which is often managed by ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. The objectives of this study were to review published risk factors for shunt dependency in patients with aSAH, determine the level of evidence for each factor, and calculate the magnitude of each risk factor to better guide patient management.
The authors searched PubMed and MEDLINE databases for Level A and Level B articles published through December 31, 2014, that describe factors affecting shunt dependency after aSAH and performed a systematic review and meta-analysis, stratifying the existing data according to level of evidence.
On the basis of the results of the meta-analysis, risk factors for shunt dependency included high Fisher grade (OR 7.74, 95% CI 4.47–13.41), acute hydrocephalus (OR 5.67, 95% CI 3.96–8.12), in-hospital complications (OR 4.91, 95% CI 2.79–8.64), presence of intraventricular blood (OR 3.93, 95% CI 2.80–5.52), high Hunt and Hess Scale score (OR 3.25, 95% CI 2.51–4.21), rehemorrhage (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.24–3.95), posterior circulation location of the aneurysm (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.53), and age ≥ 60 years (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.50–2.19). The only risk factor included in the meta-analysis that did not reach statistical significance was female sex (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.77–1.65).
The authors identified several risk factors for shunt dependency in aSAH patients that help predict which patients are likely to require a permanent shunt. Although some of these risk factors are not independent of each other, this information assists clinicians in identifying at-risk patients and managing their treatment.