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Jay Riva-Cambrin, John R. W. Kestle, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Robert P. Naftel, Jessica S. Alvey, Ron W. Reeder, Richard Holubkov, Samuel R. Browd, D. Douglas Cochrane, David D. Limbrick Jr., Chevis N. Shannon, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Abhaya V. Kulkarni and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy combined with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV+CPC) has been adopted by many pediatric neurosurgeons as an alternative to placing shunts in infants with hydrocephalus. However, reported success rates have been highly variable, which may be secondary to patient selection, operative technique, and/or surgeon training. The objective of this prospective multicenter cohort study was to identify independent patient selection, operative technique, or surgical training predictors of ETV+CPC success in infants.

METHODS

This was a prospective cohort study nested within the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network’s (HCRN) Core Data Project (registry). All infants under the age of 2 years who underwent a first ETV+CPC between June 2006 and March 2015 from 8 HCRN centers were included. Each patient had a minimum of 6 months of follow-up unless censored by an ETV+CPC failure. Patient and operative risk factors of failure were examined, as well as formal ETV+CPC training, which was defined as traveling to and working with the experienced surgeons at CURE Children’s Hospital of Uganda. ETV+CPC failure was defined as the need for repeat ETV, shunting, or death.

RESULTS

The study contained 191 patients with a primary ETV+CPC conducted by 17 pediatric neurosurgeons within the HCRN. Infants under 6 months corrected age at the time of ETV+CPC represented 79% of the cohort. Myelomeningocele (26%), intraventricular hemorrhage associated with prematurity (24%), and aqueductal stenosis (17%) were the most common etiologies. A total of 115 (60%) of the ETV+CPCs were conducted by surgeons after formal training. Overall, ETV+CPC was successful in 48%, 46%, and 45% of infants at 6 months, 1 year, and 18 months, respectively. Young age (< 1 month) (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.9, 95% CI 1.0–3.6) and an etiology of post–intraventricular hemorrhage secondary to prematurity (aHR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1–3.6) were the only two independent predictors of ETV+CPC failure. Specific subgroups of ages within etiology categories were identified as having higher ETV+CPC success rates. Although training led to more frequent use of the flexible scope (p < 0.001) and higher rates of complete (> 90%) CPC (p < 0.001), training itself was not independently associated (aHR 1.1, 95% CI 0.7–1.8; p = 0.63) with ETV+CPC success.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest prospective multicenter North American study to date examining ETV+CPC. Formal ETV+CPC training was not found to be associated with improved procedure outcomes. Specific subgroups of ages within specific hydrocephalus etiologies were identified that may preferentially benefit from ETV+CPC.

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Robert P. Naftel, Jessica S. Alvey, Ron W. Reeder, Richard Holubkov, Samuel R. Browd, D. Douglas Cochrane, David D. Limbrick Jr., Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

High-quality data comparing endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) to shunt and ETV alone in North America are greatly lacking. To address this, the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) conducted a prospective study of ETV+CPC in infants. Here, these prospective data are presented and compared to prospectively collected data from a historical cohort of infants treated with shunt or ETV alone.

METHODS

From June 2014 to September 2015, infants (corrected age ≤ 24 months) requiring treatment for hydrocephalus with anatomy suitable for ETV+CPC were entered into a prospective study at 9 HCRN centers. The rate of procedural failure (i.e., the need for repeat hydrocephalus surgery, hydrocephalus-related death, or major postoperative neurological deficit) was determined. These data were compared with a cohort of similar infants who were treated with either a shunt (n = 969) or ETV alone (n = 74) by creating matched pairs on the basis of age and etiology. These data were obtained from the existing prospective HCRN Core Data Project. All patients were observed for at least 6 months.

RESULTS

A total of 118 infants underwent ETV+CPC (median corrected age 1.3 months; common etiologies including myelomeningocele [30.5%], intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity [22.9%], and aqueductal stenosis [21.2%]). The 6-month success rate was 36%. The most common complications included seizures (5.1%) and CSF leak (3.4%). Important predictors of treatment success in the survival regression model included older age (p = 0.002), smaller preoperative ventricle size (p = 0.009), and greater degree of CPC (p = 0.02). The matching algorithm resulted in 112 matched pairs for ETV+CPC versus shunt alone and 34 matched pairs for ETV+CPC versus ETV alone. ETV+CPC was found to have significantly higher failure rate than shunt placement (p < 0.001). Although ETV+CPC had a similar failure rate compared with ETV alone (p = 0.73), the matched pairs included mostly infants with aqueductal stenosis and miscellaneous other etiologies but very few patients with intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity.

CONCLUSIONS

Within a large and broad cohort of North American infants, our data show that overall ETV+CPC appears to have a higher failure rate than shunt alone. Although the ETV+CPC results were similar to ETV alone, this comparison was limited by the small sample size and skewed etiological distribution. Within the ETV+CPC group, greater extent of CPC was associated with treatment success, thereby suggesting that there are subgroups who might benefit from the addition of CPC. Further work will focus on identifying these subgroups.