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Saman Fouladirad, Alexander Cheong, Ashutosh Singhal, Mandeep S. Tamber, and Patrick J. McDonald

OBJECTIVE

Hydrocephalus is one of the most common condition treated by pediatric neurosurgeons. Many neurosurgeons are unable to continue to care for patients after they become adults. Although significant gaps in care are believed to exist for youth transitioning from pediatric to adult care, very little is known about how patients and their caregivers feel about the process. This qualitative study sought to examine the perceptions of adolescents, young adults, and their caregivers regarding transitioning from pediatric to adult care at a single Canadian center.

METHODS

The authors explored the perceptions of patients with treated hydrocephalus and their caregivers using semistructured interviews and qualitative research methodologies. A convenience sample was recruited, composed of adolescent patients and their caregivers at the neurosurgery clinic of BC Children’s Hospital, and patients and caregivers recently transitioned to adult care from the clinic. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded, with common themes identified.

RESULTS

Four overarching themes relating to the process of transitioning from pediatric to adult hydrocephalus care for patients and their caregivers were identified from the data: 1) achieving independence, 2) communication gaps, 3) loss of significant relationships and environment, and 4) fear of uncertainty.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, patients with hydrocephalus and their families are dissatisfied with the process of transitioning. This study identified common themes and concerns among this cohort that may form the basis of an improved transition model for youth with hydrocephalus as they become adults.

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Rajeev Kariyattil, Paul Steinbok, Ashutosh Singhal, and D. Douglas Cochrane

Object

Ascites and abdominal pseudocysts are two complications that can occur following placement of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. Although various factors have been implicated, the exact pathogenesis of the two conditions remains elusive. To the authors' knowledge, there are no studies in which these two obviously related conditions have been compared.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of children with abdominal complications caused by a VP shunt. There were 15 patients who developed a pseudocyst and five patients who developed ascites. The cases were analyzed to identify common and distinguishing factors that may help in identifying the mechanism involved.

Abdominal symptoms were the mode of presentation for patients with ascites, whereas shunt malfunction was the mode of presentation in 60% of those with pseudocysts. Culture-proven infection, abdominal surgery, and the number of revisions seemed to be more common in cases with pseudocysts than in ascites. The fluid in ascites was found to be a transudate irrespective of the origin of hydrocephalus. Alternative drainage sites were required in the treatment of patients with ascites, and reimplantation in the peritoneum was possible in 66.7% of those with pseudocysts. In the long term, however, peritoneal reimplantation was possible in three of the five patients with ascites.

Conclusions

Abdominal pseudocysts and ascites, after VP shunt treatment, are distinct conditions with different modes of presentation and findings during examination of fluid, and therefore they require different management strategies.

Open access

Isabella Watson, Patrick J. McDonald, Paul Steinbok, Brendon Graeber, and Ashutosh Singhal

BACKGROUND

Arachnoid cysts are benign, often asymptomatic intracranial mass lesions that, when ruptured, may cause seizures, raised intracranial pressure, hemorrhage, and/or loss of consciousness. There is no widely agreed upon treatment, and there is debate as to whether a nonoperative or surgical approach is the best course of action. The carbonic anhydrase inhibitor acetazolamide may be an effective nonoperative approach in treating ruptured arachnoid cysts.

OBSERVATIONS

The Pediatric Neurosurgery Clinical Database at BC Children’s Hospital from 2000 to 2020 was queried, and four pediatric patients who were treated with acetazolamide after presentation with a ruptured middle cranial fossa arachnoid cyst were identified. All patients showed some degree of symptom improvement. Three of the patients showed complete reabsorption of their subdural collections in the ensuing 6 months. One patient had an inadequate response to acetazolamide and required surgical management.

LESSONS

Acetazolamide is a safe and reasonable primary treatment option in pediatric patients with ruptured middle cranial fossa arachnoid cysts, and it may help avoid the need for surgery.