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Andrew Reisner, Alexis D. Smith, David M. Wrubel, Bryan E. Buster, Michael S. Sawvel, Laura S. Blackwell, Nealen G. Laxpati, Barunashish Brahma, and Joshua J. Chern

OBJECTIVE

The management of hydrocephalus resulting from intraventricular hemorrhage related to extreme prematurity remains demanding. Given the complexities of controlling hydrocephalus in this population, less commonly used procedures may be required. The authors examined the utility of ventriculogallbladder (VGB) shunts in a series of such children.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all children who underwent surgery for hydrocephalus in the period from 2011 through 2019 at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Six patients who underwent VGB shunt placement were identified among a larger cohort of 609 patients who had either a new shunt or a newly changed distal terminus site. The authors present an analysis of this series, including a case of laparoscopy-assisted distal VGB shunt revision.

RESULTS

The mean age at initial shunt placement was 5.1 months (range 3.0–9.4 months), with patients undergoing a mean of 11.8 shunt procedures (range 5–17) prior to the initial VGB shunt placement at a mean age of 5.3 years (range 7.9 months–12.8 years). All 6 patients with VGB shunt placement had hydrocephalus related to extreme prematurity (gestational age < 28 weeks). At the time of VGB shunt placement, all had complex medical and surgical histories, including poor venous access due to congenital or iatrogenic thrombosis or thrombophlebitis and a peritoneum hostile to distal shunt placement related to severe necrotizing enterocolitis. VGB complications included 1 case of shunt infection, identified at postoperative day 6, and 2 cases of distal shunt failure due to retraction of the distal end of the VGB shunt. In all, there were 3 conversions back to ventriculoperitoneal or ventriculoatrial shunts due to the 2 previously mentioned complications, plus 1 patient who outgrew their initial VGB shunt. Three of 6 patients remain with a VGB shunt, including 1 who underwent laparoscopy-assisted distal shunt revision 110.5 months after initial VGB shunt insertion.

CONCLUSIONS

Placement of VGB shunts should be considered in the armamentarium of procedures that may be used in the particularly difficult cohort of children with hydrocephalus related to extreme prematurity. VGB shunts show utility as both a definitive treatment and as a “bridge” procedure until the patient is larger and comorbid abdominal and/or vascular issues have resolved sufficiently to allow conversion back to ventriculoperitoneal or ventriculoatrial shunts, if needed.

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Andrew Reisner, Joshua J. Chern, Karen Walson, Natalie Tillman, Toni Petrillo-Albarano, Eric A. Sribnick, Laura S. Blackwell, Zaev D. Suskin, Chia-Yi Kuan, and Atul Vats

OBJECTIVE

Evidence shows mixed efficacy of applying guidelines for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. A multidisciplinary team at a children’s health system standardized intensive care unit–based TBI care using guidelines and best practices. The authors sought to investigate the impact of guideline implementation on outcomes.

METHODS

A multidisciplinary group developed a TBI care protocol based on published TBI treatment guidelines and consensus, which was implemented in March 2011. The authors retrospectively compared preimplementation outcomes (May 2009 to March 2011) and postimplementation outcomes (April 2011 to March 2014) among patients < 18 years of age admitted with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8) and potential survivability who underwent intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring. Measures included mortality, hospital length of stay (LOS), ventilator LOS, critical ICP elevation time (percentage or total time that ICP was > 40 mm Hg), and survivor functionality at discharge (measured by the WeeFIM score). Data were analyzed using Student t-tests.

RESULTS

A total of 71 and 121 patients were included pre- and postimplementation, respectively. Mortality (32% vs 19%; p < 0.001) and length of critical ICP elevation (> 20 mm Hg; 26.3% vs 15%; p = 0.001) decreased after protocol implementation. WeeFIM discharge scores were not statistically different (57.6 vs 58.9; p = 0.9). Hospital LOS (median 19.6 days; p = 0.68) and ventilator LOS (median 10 days; p = 0.24) were unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS

A multidisciplinary effort to develop, disseminate, and implement an evidence-based TBI treatment protocol at a children’s hospital was associated with improved outcomes, including survival and reduced time of ICP elevation. This type of ICP-based protocol can serve as a guide for other institutions looking to reduce practice disparity in the treatment of severe TBI.