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James P. McAllister II, Michael A. Williams, Marion L. Walker, John R. W. Kestle, Norman R. Relkin, Amy M. Anderson, Paul H. Gross and Samuel R. Browd

Building on previous National Institutes of Health-sponsored symposia on hydrocephalus research, “Opportunities for Hydrocephalus Research: Pathways to Better Outcomes” was held in Seattle, Washington, July 9–11, 2012. Plenary sessions were organized into four major themes, each with two subtopics: Causes of Hydrocephalus (Genetics and Pathophysiological Modifications); Diagnosis of Hydrocephalus (Biomarkers and Neuroimaging); Treatment of Hydrocephalus (Bioengineering Advances and Surgical Treatments); and Outcome in Hydrocephalus (Neuropsychological and Neurological). International experts gave plenary talks, and extensive group discussions were held for each of the major themes.

The conference emphasized patient-centered care and translational research, with the main objective to arrive at a consensus on priorities in hydrocephalus that have the potential to impact patient care in the next 5 years. The current state of hydrocephalus research and treatment was presented, and the following priorities for research were recommended for each theme. 1) Causes of Hydrocephalus—CSF absorption, production, and related drug therapies; pathogenesis of human hydrocephalus; improved animal and in vitro models of hydrocephalus; developmental and macromolecular transport mechanisms; biomechanical changes in hydrocephalus; and age-dependent mechanisms in the development of hydrocephalus. 2) Diagnosis of Hydrocephalus—implementation of a standardized set of protocols and a shared repository of technical information; prospective studies of multimodal techniques including MRI and CSF biomarkers to test potential pharmacological treatments; and quantitative and cost-effective CSF assessment techniques. 3) Treatment of Hydrocephalus—improved bioengineering efforts to reduce proximal catheter and overall shunt failure; external or implantable diagnostics and support for the biological infrastructure research that informs these efforts; and evidence-based surgical standardization with longitudinal metrics to validate or refute implemented practices, procedures, or tests. 4) Outcome in Hydrocephalus—development of specific, reliable batteries with metrics focused on the hydrocephalic patient; measurements of neurocognitive outcome and quality-of-life measures that are adaptable, trackable across the growth spectrum, and applicable cross-culturally; development of comparison metrics against normal aging and sensitive screening tools to diagnose idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus against appropriate normative age-based data; better understanding of the incidence and prevalence of hydrocephalus within both pediatric and adult populations; and comparisons of aging patterns in adults with hydrocephalus against normal aging patterns.

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R. Michael Scott

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Jian Guan, Michael Karsy, Andrea A. Brock, William T. Couldwell, John R. W. Kestle, Randy L. Jensen, Andrew T. Dailey, Erica F. Bisson and Richard H. Schmidt

OBJECTIVE

Overlapping surgery remains a controversial topic in the medical community. Although numerous studies have examined the safety profile of overlapping operations, there are few data on its financial impact. The authors assessed direct hospital costs associated with neurosurgical operations during periods before and after a more stringent overlapping surgery policy was implemented.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of nonemergency neurosurgical operations that took place during the periods from June 1, 2014, to October 31, 2014 (pre–policy change), and from June 1, 2016, to October 31, 2016 (post–policy change), by any of the 4 senior neurosurgeons authorized to perform overlapping cases during both periods. Cost data as well as demographic, surgical, and hospitalization-related variables were obtained from an institutional tool, the Value-Driven Outcomes database.

RESULTS

A total of 625 hospitalizations met inclusion criteria for cost analysis; of these, 362 occurred prior to the policy change and 263 occurred after the change. All costs were reported as a proportion of the average total hospitalization cost for the entire cohort. There was no significant difference in mean total hospital costs between the prechange and postchange period (0.994 ± 1.237 vs 1.009 ± 0.994, p = 0.873). On multivariate linear regression analysis, neither the policy change (p = 0.582) nor the use of overlapping surgery (p = 0.273) was significantly associated with higher total hospital costs.

CONCLUSIONS

A more restrictive overlapping surgery policy was not associated with a reduction in the direct costs of hospitalization for neurosurgical procedures.

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John R. W. Kestle, James M. Drake, D. Douglas Cochrane, Ruth Milner, Marion L. Walker, Rick Abbott III, Frederick A. Boop and the Endoscopic Shunt Insertion Trial Participants

Object. Endoscopically assisted ventricular catheter placement has been reported to reduce shunt failure in uncontrolled series. The authors investigated the efficacy of this procedure in a prospective multicenter randomized trial.

Methods. Children younger than 18 years old who were scheduled for their first ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement were randomized to undergo endoscopic or nonendoscopic insertion of a ventricular catheter. Eligibility and primary outcome (shunt failure) were decided in a blinded fashion. An intention-to-treat analysis was performed. The sample size offered 80% power to detect a 10 to 15% absolute reduction in the 1-year shunt failure rate.

The authors studied 393 patients from 16 pediatric neurosurgery centers between May 1996 and November 1999. Median patient age at shunt insertion was 89 days. The baseline characteristics of patients within each group were similar: 54% of patients treated with endoscopy were male and 55% of patients treated without endoscopy were male; 30% of patients treated with and 26% of those without endoscopy had myelomeningocele; a differential pressure valve was used in 51% of patients with and 49% of those treated without endoscopy; a Delta valve was inserted in 38% of patients in each group; and a Sigma valve was placed in 9% of patients treated with and 12% of those treated without endoscopy. Median surgical time lasted 40 minutes in the group treated with and 35 minutes in the group treated without endoscopy. Ventricular catheters, which during surgery were thought to be situated away from the choroid plexus, were demonstrated to be in it on postoperative imaging in 67% of patients who had undergone endoscopic insertion and 61% of those who had undergone nonendoscopic shunt placements. The incidence of shunt failure at 1 year was 42% in the endoscopic insertion group and 34% in the nonendoscopic group. The time to first shunt failure was not different between the two groups (log rank = 2.92, p = 0.09).

Conclusions. Endoscopic insertion of the initial VP shunt in children suffering from hydrocephalus did not reduce the incidence of shunt failure.

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Tamara D. Simon, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Raj Srivastava, Susan L. Bratton, J. Michael Dean, John R. W. Kestle and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

Object

The aims of this study were to measure inpatient health care for pediatric hydrocephalus in the US; describe patient, hospital, and hospitalization characteristics for pediatric hydrocephalus inpatient care; and determine characteristics associated with death.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was performed using the 1997, 2000, and 2003 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Databases (KID), nationally representative weighted data sets of hospital discharges for pediatric patients. A hydrocephalus-related hospitalization was classified as either cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt–related (including initial placements, infections, malfunctions, or other) or non–CSF shunt–related. Patients > 18 years of age were excluded. The KID provided weighted estimates of 6.657, 6.597, and 6.732 million total discharges in the 3 study years.

Results

Each year there were 38,200–39,900 admissions, 391,000–433,000 hospital days, and total hospital charges of $1.4–2.0 billion for pediatric hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus accounted for 0.6% of all pediatric hospital admissions in the US in 2003, but for 1.8% of all pediatric hospital days and 3.1% of all pediatric hospital charges. Over the study years, children admitted with hydrocephalus were older, had an increase in comorbidities, and were admitted more frequently to teaching hospitals. Compared with children who survived, those who died were more likely to be < 3 months of age and have a birth-related admission, have no insurance, have comorbidities, be transferred, and have a non–CSF shunt–related admission.

Conclusions

Children with hydrocephalus have a chronic illness and use a disproportionate share of hospital days and healthcare dollars in the US. Since 1997 they have increased in age and in number of comorbid conditions. For important changes in morbidity and mortality rates to be made, focused research efforts and funding are necessary.

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John R. W. Kestle, Hugh J. L. Garton, William E. Whitehead, James M. Drake, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, D. Douglas Cochrane, Cheryl Muszynski and Marion L. Walker

Object

Approximately 10% of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt operations are associated with infection and require removal or externalization of the shunt, in-hospital treatment with antibiotic agents, and insertion of a new shunt. In a previous survey, the authors identified substantial variation in the duration of antibiotic therapy as well as the duration of hospital stay. The present multicenter pilot study was undertaken to evaluate current strategies in the treatment of shunt infection.

Methods

Patients were enrolled in the study if they had a successful treatment of a CSF shunt infection proved by culture of a CSF specimen. Details of their care and the incidence of culture-proved reinfection were recorded.

Seventy patients from 10 centers were followed up for 1 year after their CSF shunt infection. The initial management of the infection was shunt externalization in 17 patients, shunt removal and external ventricular drain insertion in 50, and antibiotic treatment alone in three. Reinfection occurred in 18 patients (26%). Twelve of the 18 reinfections were caused by the same organism and six were due to new organisms. The treatment time varied from 4 to 47 days, with a mean of 17.4 days for those who later experienced a reinfection compared with 16.2 days for those who did not. The most common organism (Staphylococcus epidermidis, 34 patients) was associated with a reinfection rate of 29% and a mean treatment time of 12.8 days for those who suffered reinfection and 12.5 days for those who did not.

Conclusions

Reinfection after treatment of a CSF shunt infection is alarmingly common. According to the data available, the incidence of reinfection does not appear to be related to the duration of antibiotic therapy.

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Jian Guan, Andrea A. Brock, Michael Karsy, William T. Couldwell, Meic H. Schmidt, John R. W. Kestle, Randy L. Jensen, Andrew T. Dailey and Richard H. Schmidt

OBJECTIVE

Overlapping surgery—the performance of parts of 2 or more surgical procedures at the same time by a single lead surgeon—has recently come under intense scrutiny, although data on the effects of overlapping procedures on patient outcomes are lacking. The authors examined the impact of overlapping surgery on complication rates in neurosurgical patients.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of consecutive nonemergent neurosurgical procedures performed during the period from May 12, 2014, to May 12, 2015, by any of 5 senior neurosurgeons at a single institution who were authorized to schedule overlapping cases. Overlapping surgery was defined as any case in which 2 patients under the care of a single lead surgeon were under anesthesia at the same time for any duration. Information on patient demographics, premorbid conditions, surgical variables, and postoperative course were collected and analyzed. Primary outcome was the occurrence of any complication from the beginning of surgery to 30 days after discharge. A secondary outcome was the occurrence of a serious complication—defined as a life-threatening or life-ending event—during this same period.

RESULTS

One thousand eighteen patients met the inclusion criteria for the study. Of these patients, 475 (46.7%) underwent overlapping surgery. Two hundred seventy-one patients (26.6%) experienced 1 or more complications, with 134 (13.2%) suffering a serious complication. Fourteen patients in the cohort died, a rate of 1.4%. The overall complication rate was not significantly higher for overlapping cases than for nonoverlapping cases (26.3% vs 26.9%, p = 0.837), nor was the rate of serious complications (14.7% vs 11.8%, p = 0.168). After adjustments for surgery type, surgery duration, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical classification grade, and intraoperative blood loss, overlapping surgery remained unassociated with overall complications (OR 0.810, 95% CI 0.592–1.109, p = 0.189). Similarly, after adjustments for surgery type, surgery duration, body mass index, ASA grade, and neurological comorbidity, there was no association between overlapping surgery and serious complications (OR 0.979, 95% CI 0.661–1.449, p = 0.915).

CONCLUSIONS

In this cohort, patients undergoing overlapping surgery did not have an increased risk for overall complications or serious complications. Although this finding suggests that overlapping surgery can be performed safely within the appropriate framework, further investigation is needed in other specialties and at other institutions.

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James K. Liu, Michael S. Tenner, Oren N. Gottfried, Edwin A. Stevens, Joshua M. Rosenow, Neel Madan, Joel D. Macdonald, John R. W. Kestle and William T. Couldwell

Object. Cerebral vasospasm that is caused by aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and that is refractory to maximal medical management can be treated with selective intraarterial papaverine infusions. The effects of single papaverine treatments on cerebral circulation time are well known. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of multiple, repeated papaverine infusions on the cerebral circulation time in patients with recurrent vasospasm.

Methods. A retrospective study was conducted in 17 patients who received multiple intraarterial papaverine infusions in 91 carotid artery (CA) territories for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm. Cerebral circulation times were measured from the first angiographic image, in which peak contrast was seen above the supraclinoid internal CA, to the peak filling of cortical veins. Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores assessed 12 months after discharge were reviewed. Cerebral circulation times in 16 CA territories were measured in a control group of 11 patients.

Seventeen patients received a total of 91 papaverine treatments. Prolonged cerebral circulation times improved after 90 (99%) of 91 papaverine treatments. The prepapaverine mean cerebral circulation time was 6.54 seconds (range 3.35–27 seconds) and the immediate postpapaverine mean cerebral circulation time was 4.19 seconds (range 2.1–12.6 seconds), an overall mean decrease of 2.35 seconds (36%, p < 0.001). Recurrent vasospasm reflected by prolonged cerebral circulation times continued to improve with subsequent papaverine infusions. Repeated infusions were just as successful quantitatively as the primary treatment (mean change 2.06 seconds). The mean cerebral circulation time in the control group was 5.21 seconds (range 4–6.8 seconds). In five patients a dramatic reversal of low-attenuation changes was detected on computerized tomography scans. The mean GOS score at 12 months after discharge was 3.4.

Conclusions. The preliminary results indicate that multiple intraarterial papaverine treatments consistently improve cerebral circulation times, even with repeated infusions in cases of recurrent vasospasm.

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Tamara D. Simon, Kathryn B. Whitlock, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John R. W. Kestle, Margaret Rosenfeld, J. Michael Dean, Richard Holubkov, Marcie Langley and Nicole Mayer-Hamblett

Object

The neurosurgical literature has conflicting findings regarding the association between indications for CSF shunt placement and subsequent shunt surgery. The object of this study was to identify baseline factors at the time of initial CSF shunt placement that are independently associated with subsequent surgery.

Methods

This was a retrospective cohort study of children ages 0–18 years who underwent initial CSF shunt placement between January 1, 1997, and October 12, 2006, at a tertiary care children's hospital. The outcome of interest was CSF shunt surgery (either for revision or infection) within 12 months after initial placement. Associations between subsequent CSF shunt surgery and indication for the initial shunt, adjusting for patient age and surgeon factors at the time of initial placement, were estimated using multivariate logistic regression. Medical and surgical decisions, which varied according to surgeon, were examined separately in a univariate analysis.

Results

Of the 554 children in the study cohort, 233 (42%) underwent subsequent CSF shunt surgery, either for revision (167 patients [30%]) or infection (66 patients [12%]). In multivariate logistic regression modeling, significant risk factors for subsequent CSF shunt surgery included (compared with aqueductal stenosis) intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) secondary to prematurity (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.2, 95% CI 1.1–4.5) and other unusual indications (AOR 3.7, 95% CI 1.0–13.6). The patient's age at initial CSF shunt placement was not significantly associated with increased odds of subsequent surgery after adjusting for other associated factors.

Conclusions

The occurrence of IVH is associated with increased odds of subsequent CSF shunt surgery within 12 months after shunt placement. Families of and care providers for children with IVH should be attuned to their increased risk of shunt failure.

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John R. W. Kestle, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, William E. Whitehead, Marion L. Walker, W. Jerry Oakes, James M. Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, Tamara D. Simon and Richard Holubkov

Object

Quality improvement techniques are being implemented in many areas of medicine. In an effort to reduce the ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection rate, a standardized protocol was developed and implemented at 4 centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN).

Methods

The protocol was developed sequentially by HCRN members using the current literature and prior institutional experience until consensus was obtained. The protocol was prospectively applied at each HCRN center to all children undergoing a shunt insertion or revision procedure. Infections were defined on the basis of CSF, wound, or pseudocyst cultures; wound breakdown; abdominal pseudocyst; or positive blood cultures in the presence of a ventriculoatrial shunt. Procedures and infections were measured before and after protocol implementation.

Results

Twenty-one surgeons at 4 centers performed 1571 procedures between June 1, 2007, and February 28, 2009. The minimum follow-up was 6 months. The Network infection rate decreased from 8.8% prior to the protocol to 5.7% while using the protocol (p = 0.0028, absolute risk reduction 3.15%, relative risk reduction 36%). Three of 4 centers lowered their infection rate. Shunt surgery after external ventricular drainage (with or without prior infection) had the highest infection rate. Overall protocol compliance was 74.5% and improved over the course of the observation period. Based on logistic regression analysis, the use of BioGlide catheters (odds ratio [OR] 1.91, 95% CI 1.19–3.05; p = 0.007) and the use of antiseptic cream by any members of the surgical team (instead of a formal surgical scrub by all members of the surgical team; OR 4.53, 95% CI 1.43–14.41; p = 0.01) were associated with an increased risk of infection.

Conclusions

The standardized protocol for shunt surgery significantly reduced shunt infection across the HCRN. Overall protocol compliance was good. The protocol has established a common baseline within the Network, which will facilitate assessment of new treatments. Identification of factors associated with infection will allow further protocol refinement in the future.