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Philine Behrens, Anna Tietze, Elisabeth Walch, Petra Bittigau, Christoph Bührer, Matthias Schulz, Annette Aigner, and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

OBJECTIVE

A standardized guideline for treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in premature infants is still missing. Because an early ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery is avoided due to low body weight and fragility of the patients, the neurosurgical treatment focuses on temporary solutions for CSF diversion as a minimally invasive approach. Neuroendoscopic lavage (NEL) was additionally introduced for early elimination of intraventricular blood components to reduce possible subsequent complications such as shunt dependency, infection, and multiloculated hydrocephalus. The authors report their first experience regarding neurodevelopmental outcome after NEL in this patient cohort.

METHODS

In a single-center retrospective cohort study with 45 patients undergoing NEL, the authors measured neurocognitive development at 2 years with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 2nd Edition, Mental Developmental Index (BSID II MDI) and graded the ability to walk with the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). They further recorded medication with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and quantified ventricular and brain volumes by using 3D MRI data sets.

RESULTS

Forty-four patients were alive at 2 years of age. Eight of 27 patients (30%) assessed revealed a fairly normal neurocognitive development (BSID II MDI ≥ 70), 28 of 36 patients (78%) were able to walk independently or with minimal aid (GMFCS 0–2), and 73% did not require AED treatment. Based on MR volume measurements, greater brain volume was positively correlated with BSID II MDI (rs = 0.52, 95% CI 0.08–0.79) and negatively with GMFCS (rs = −0.69, 95% CI −0.85 to −0.42). Based on Bayesian logistic regression, AED treatment, the presence of comorbidities, and also cerebellar pathology could be identified as relevant risk factors for both neurodevelopmental outcomes, increasing the odds more than 2-fold—but with limited precision in estimation.

CONCLUSIONS

Neuromotor outcome assessment after NEL is comparable to previously published drainage, irrigation, and fibrinolytic therapy (DRIFT) study results. A majority of NEL-treated patients showed independent mobility. Further validation of outcome measurements is warranted in an extended setup, as intended by the prospective international multicenter registry for treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (TROPHY).