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Simon Thomson, Atul K. Tyagi and Paul D. Chumas

✓ Three cases are presented in which progressive hypertrophic calcification formed following ventricular endoscopy. After a ventricular endoscopy has been performed, it has been the authors' practice to seal the burr hole with bone dust. They believe that the calcifications formed from bone dust that fell into the track left by the endoscope. This is the first time this complication has been described.

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Yahia Z. Al-Tamimi, Atul K. Tyagi, Paul D. Chumas and Darach W. Crimmins

✓ Osteopetrosis is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by abnormal bone sclerosis. As a result, patients often require input regarding various neurological complications. Although autosomal-recessive osteopetrosis has been associated with hydrocephalus, it has not been linked to hindbrain abnormalities. The authors present 3 cases of auto-somal-recessive osteopetrosis in patients who presented with hydrocephalus. In each of these patients, cerebrospinal fluid diversion procedures were required and hindbrain compression developed. To date, only 1 patient has needed craniocervical decompression due to symptomatic brainstem compression.

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Ian A. Anderson, Louise F. Saukila, James M. W. Robins, Christopher Y. Akhunbay-Fudge, John R. Goodden, Atul K. Tyagi, Nick Phillips and Paul D. Chumas

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive benchmark of 30-day ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt failure rates for a single institution over a 5-year study period for both adult and pediatric patients, to compare this with the results in previously published literature, and to establish factors associated with shunt failure.

METHODS

A retrospective database search was undertaken to identify all VP shunt operations performed in a single, regional neurosurgical unit during a 5-year period. Data were collected regarding patient age, sex, origin of hydrocephalus, and whether the shunt was a primary or secondary shunt. Operative notes were used to ascertain the type of valve inserted, which components of the shunt were adjusted/replaced (in revision cases), level of seniority of the most senior surgeon who participated in the operation, and number of surgeons involved in the operation. Where appropriate and where available, postoperative imaging was assessed for grade of shunt placement, using a recognized grading system. Univariate and multivariate models were used to establish factors associated with early (30-day) shunt failure.

RESULTS

Six hundred eighty-three VP shunt operations were performed, of which 321 were pediatric and 362 were adult. The median duration of postoperative follow-up for nonfailed shunts (excluding deaths) was 1263 days (range 525–2226 days). The pediatric 30-day shunt failure rates in the authors’ institution were 8.8% for primary shunts and 23.4% for revisions. In adults, the 30-day shunt failure rates are 17.7% for primary shunts and 25.6% for revisions. In pediatric procedures, the number of surgeons involved in the operating theater was significantly associated with shunt failure rate. In adults, the origin of hydrocephalus was a statistically significant variable. Primary shunts lasted longer than revision shunts, irrespective of patient age.

CONCLUSIONS

A benchmark of 30-day failures is presented and is consistent with current national databases and previously published data by other groups. The number of surgeons involved in shunt operations and the origin of the patient’s hydrocephalus should be described in future studies and should be controlled for in any prospective work. The choice of shunt valve was not a significant predictor of shunt failure. Most previous studies on shunts have concentrated on primary shunts, but the high rate of early shunt failure in revision cases (in both adults and children) is perhaps where future research efforts should be concentrated.