Experimental data about the evolution of intracranial volume and pressure in cases of hydrocephalus are limited due to the lack of available monitoring techniques. In this study, the authors validate intracranial CSF volume measurements within the lateral ventricle, while simultaneously using impedance sensors and pressure transducers in hydrocephalic animals.
A volume sensor was fabricated and connected to a catheter that was used as a shunt to withdraw CSF. In vitro bench-top calibration experiments were created to provide data for the animal experiments and to validate the sensors. To validate the measurement technique in a physiological system, hydrocephalus was induced in weanling rats by kaolin injection into the cisterna magna. At 28 days after induction, the sensor was implanted into the lateral ventricles. After sealing the skull using dental cement, an acute CSF drainage/infusion protocol consisting of 4 sequential phases was performed with a pump. Implant location was confirmed via radiography using intraventricular iohexol contrast administration.
Controlled CSF shunting in vivo with hydrocephalic rats resulted in precise and accurate sensor measurements (r = 0.98). Shunting resulted in a 17.3% maximum measurement error between measured volume and actual volume as assessed by a Bland-Altman plot. A secondary outcome confirmed that both ventricular volume and intracranial pressure decreased during CSF shunting and increased during infusion. Ventricular enlargement consistent with successful hydrocephalus induction was confirmed using imaging, as well as postmortem. These results indicate that volume monitoring is feasible for clinical cases of hydrocephalus.
This work marks a departure from traditional shunting systems currently used to treat hydrocephalus. The overall clinical application is to provide alternative monitoring and treatment options for patients. Future work includes development and testing of a chronic (long-term) volume monitoring system.