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Albert M. Isaacs, Chad G. Ball, Nicholas Sader, Sandeep Muram, David Ben-Israel, Geberth Urbaneja, Jarred Dronyk, Richard Holubkov, and Mark G. Hamilton

OBJECTIVE

Patient outcomes of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery, the mainstay treatment for hydrocephalus in adults, are poor because of high shunt failure rates. The use of neuronavigation or laparoscopy can reduce the risks of proximal or distal shunt catheter failure, respectively, but has less independent effect on overall shunt failures. No adult studies to date have combined both approaches in the setting of a shunt infection prevention protocol to reduce shunt failure. The goal of this study was to determine whether combining neuronavigation and laparoscopy with a shunt infection prevention strategy would reduce the incidence of shunt failures in adult hydrocephalic patients.

METHODS

Adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) undergoing VP shunt surgery at a tertiary care institution prior to (pre–Shunt Outcomes [ShOut]) and after (post-ShOut) the start of a prospective continuous quality improvement (QI) study were compared. Pre-ShOut patients had their proximal and distal catheters placed under conventional freehand approaches. Post-ShOut patients had their shunts inserted with neuronavigational and laparoscopy assistance in placing the distal catheter in the perihepatic space (falciform technique). A shunt infection reduction protocol had been instituted 1.5 years prior to the start of the QI initiative. The primary outcome of interest was the incidence of shunt failure (including infection) confirmed by standardized criteria indicating shunt revision surgery.

RESULTS

There were 244 (115 pre-ShOut and 129 post-ShOut) patients observed over 7 years. With a background of shunt infection prophylaxis, combined neuronavigation and laparoscopy was associated with a reduction in overall shunt failure rates from 37% to 14%, 45% to 22%, and 51% to 29% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively (HR 0.44, p < 0.001). Shunt infection rates decreased from 8% in the pre-ShOut group to 0% in the post-ShOut group. There were no proximal catheter failures in the post-ShOut group. The 2-year rates of distal catheter failure were 42% versus 20% in the pre- and post-ShOut groups, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Introducing a shunt infection prevention protocol, placing the proximal catheter under neuronavigation, and placing the peritoneal catheter in the perihepatic space by using the falciform technique led to decreased rates of infection, distal shunt failure, and overall shunt failure.

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David Ben-Israel, Jennifer A. Mann, Michael M. H. Yang, Albert M. Isaacs, Magalie Cadieux, Nicholas Sader, Sandeep Muram, Abdulrahman Albakr, Branavan Manoranjan, Richard W. Yu, Benjamin Beland, Mark G. Hamilton, Eldon Spackman, Paul E. Ronksley, and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy and choroid plexus cauterization (ETV+CPC) is a novel procedure for infant hydrocephalus that was developed in sub-Saharan Africa to mitigate the risks associated with permanent implanted shunt hardware. This study summarizes the hydrocephalus literature surrounding the ETV+CPC intraoperative abandonment rate, perioperative mortality rate, cerebrospinal fluid infection rate, and failure rate.

METHODS

This systematic review and meta-analysis followed a prespecified protocol and abides by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A comprehensive search strategy using MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychInfo, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Scopus, and Web of Science was conducted from database inception to October 2019. Studies included controlled trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies of patients with hydrocephalus younger than 18 years of age treated with ETV+CPC. Pooled estimates were calculated using DerSimonian and Laird random-effects modeling, and the significance of subgroup analyses was tested using meta-regression. The quality of the pooled outcomes was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

RESULTS

After screening and reviewing 12,321 citations, the authors found 16 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The pooled estimate for the ETV+CPC failure rate was 0.44 (95% CI 0.37–0.51). Subgroup analysis by geographic income level showed statistical significance (p < 0.01), with lower-middle-income countries having a lower failure rate (0.32, 95% CI 0.28–0.36) than high-income countries (0.53, 95% CI 0.47–0.60). No difference in failure rate was found between hydrocephalus etiology (p = 0.09) or definition of failure (p = 0.24). The pooled estimate for perioperative mortality rate (n = 7 studies) was 0.001 (95% CI 0.00–0.004), the intraoperative abandonment rate (n = 5 studies) was 0.04 (95% CI 0.01–0.08), and the postoperative CSF infection rate (n = 5 studies) was 0.0004 (95% CI 0.00–0.003). All pooled outcomes were found to be low-quality evidence.

CONCLUSIONS

This systematic review and meta-analysis provides the most comprehensive pooled estimate for the ETV+CPC failure rate to date and demonstrates, for the first time, a statistically significant difference in failure rate by geographic income level. It also provides the first reported pooled estimates for the risk of ETV+CPC perioperative mortality, intraoperative abandonment, and CSF infection. The low quality of this evidence highlights the need for further research to improve the understanding of these critical clinical outcomes and their relevant explanatory variables and thus to appreciate which patients may benefit most from an ETV+CPC.

Systematic review registration no.: CRD42020160149 (https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/)