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Claudia L. Craven, Roshini Ramkumar, Linda D’Antona, Simon D. Thompson, Lewis Thorne, Laurence D. Watkins, and Ahmed K. Toma

OBJECTIVE

Chronic ventriculomegaly in the absence of raised intracranial pressure (ICP) is a known entity in adult hydrocephalus practice. The natural history and indication for treatment is, however, poorly defined. A highly heterogeneous group, some adults with ventriculomegaly are asymptomatic, while others have life-threatening deteriorations. The authors hypothesized that the various presentations can be subtyped and represent different stages of decompensation. A cluster analysis was performed on a cohort of patients with chronic ventriculomegaly with the aim of elucidating typical clinical characteristics and outcomes in chronic ventriculomegaly in adults.

METHODS

Data were collected from 79 patients with chronic ventriculomegaly referred to a single center, including demographics, presenting symptoms, and 24-hour ICP monitoring (ICPM). A statistical cluster analysis was performed to determine the presence of subgroups.

RESULTS

Four main subgroups and one highly dissimilar group were identified. Patients with ventriculomegaly commonly have a perinatal event followed by one of four main presentations: 1) incidental ventriculomegaly with or without headache; 2) highly symptomatic presentation (including reduced consciousness) and raised ICP; 3) early presenting with symptoms of headache and nausea (with abnormal pulsatility); and 4) late presenting with features common to normal pressure hydrocephalus. Each symptomatic group has characteristic radiological features, ICPM, and responses to treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

Cluster analysis has identified subgroups of adult patients with ventriculomegaly. Such groups may represent various degrees of decompensation. Surgical interventions may not be equally effective across the subgroups, presenting an avenue for further research. The identified subtypes provide further insight into the natural history of this lesser studied form of hydrocephalus.

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Debayan Dasgupta, Linda D’Antona, Daniel Aimone Cat, Ahmed K. Toma, Carmel Curtis, Laurence D. Watkins, and Lewis Thorne

OBJECTIVE

Temporary CSF diversion through an external ventricular drain (EVD) comes with the risk of EVD-related infections (ERIs). The incidence of ERIs varies from 0.8% to 22%. ERIs increase mortality, morbidity, length of stay, and costs; require prolonged courses of antibiotics; and increase the need for subsequent permanent CSF diversion. The authors report the results of a quality improvement project designed to improve infection rates and EVD placement using simulation training in addition to a standardized perioperative care bundle. This project resulted not only in a decrease in ERIs, but also a significant improvement in surgical outcomes.

METHODS

A best-practice standardized perioperative approach and care bundle was approved by consensus among the senior neurosurgeons at the authors’ institution, and a standardized operative note was designed to encourage adherence to policy and improve documentation. This approach was adapted from the bundle previously described by Kubilay et al. Simulation workshops were introduced to teach safe sampling technique, administration of intrathecal drugs, and a standardized operative technique using the Rowena head surgical model. Effects of the interventions on placement, infection rates, and displacement were measured at two distinct time points over a 2-year period.

RESULTS

Baseline audits demonstrated satisfactory EVD placement in 74%, an infection rate of 8.5%, and displacement occurring in 20%. In the 2 years following the interventions, satisfactory placement improved to 96%, infection rate fell to 4.8%, and inadvertent displacement occurred in only 1.7%.

CONCLUSIONS

Simulation training and standardizing the perioperative care of patients requiring EVDs dramatically improved placement accuracy, reduced infection rates, and reduced EVD displacement rate.

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Duncan Henderson, Hugh P. Sims-Williams, Thomas Wilhelm, Helen Sims-Williams, Sanjay Bhagani, and Lewis Thorne

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a global health problem. It renders the central nervous system susceptible to infectious and noninfectious diseases. HIV-positive individuals may present to neurosurgical services with brain lesions of unknown etiology. The differential diagnosis in these cases is broad, including opportunistic infections and malignancies, and investigation should be tailored accordingly. Opportunistic infections of the central nervous system can be complicated by hydrocephalus, and the management is pathogen dependent. Patients may also present to a neurosurgical service with conditions unrelated to their HIV status.

This review outlines important conditions that cause brain lesions and hydrocephalus. It addresses the issues of diagnosis and intervention in HIV-positive patients in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy, while not ignoring the potential for opportunistic central nervous system infection in undiagnosed patients.

The care of HIV-positive patients presenting to neurosurgical services requires a multidisciplinary approach, which is reflected in the authorship of this review, as well as in the guidance given.

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Hasan Asif, Claudia L. Craven, Almas H. Siddiqui, Syed N. Shah, Samir A. Matloob, Lewis Thorne, Fergus Robertson, Laurence D. Watkins, and Ahmed K. Toma

OBJECTIVE

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is commonly associated with venous sinus stenosis. In recent years, transvenous dural venous sinus stent (DVSS) insertion has emerged as a potential therapy for resistant cases. However, there remains considerable uncertainty over the safety and efficacy of this procedure, in particular the incidence of intraprocedural and delayed complications and in the longevity of sinus patency, pressure gradient obliteration, and therapeutic clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to determine clinical, radiological, and manometric outcomes at 3–4 months after DVSS in this treated IIH cohort.

METHODS

Clinical, radiographic, and manometric data before and 3–4 months after DVSS were reviewed in this single-center case series. All venographic and manometric procedures were performed under local anesthesia with the patient supine.

RESULTS

Forty-one patients underwent DVSS venography/manometry within 120 days. Sinus pressure reduction of between 11 and 15 mm Hg was achieved 3–4 months after DVSS compared with pre-stent baseline, regardless of whether the procedure was primary or secondary (after shunt surgery). Radiographic obliteration of anatomical stenosis correlating with reduction in pressure gradients was observed. The complication rate after DVSS was 4.9% and stent survival was 87.8% at 120 days. At least 20% of patients developed restenosis following DVSS and only 63.3% demonstrated an improvement or resolution of papilledema.

CONCLUSIONS

Reduced venous sinus pressures were observed at 120 days after the procedure. DVSS showed lower complication rates than shunts, but the clinical outcome data were less convincing. To definitively compare the outcomes between DVSS and shunts in IIH, a randomized prospective study is needed.

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Linda D’Antona, Claudia Louise Craven, Fion Bremner, Manjit Singh Matharu, Lewis Thorne, Laurence Dale Watkins, and Ahmed Kassem Toma

OBJECTIVE

A better understanding of the effect of position on intracranial pressure (ICP) and compliance is important for the development of treatment strategies that can restore normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics. There is limited knowledge on the effect of position on intracranial compliance. In this cross-sectional study the authors tested the association of pulse amplitude (PA) with position and the day/night cycle. Additionally, they describe the postural ICP and PA changes of patients with “normal” ICP dynamics.

METHODS

This single-center retrospective study included patients with suspected and/or confirmed CSF dynamics abnormalities who had been examined with elective 24-hour ICP monitoring between October 2017 and September 2019. Patients had been enrolled in a short exercise battery including four positions: supine, lumbar puncture position in the left lateral decubitus position, sitting, and standing. Each position was maintained for 2 minutes, and mean ICP and PA were calculated for each position. The 24-hour day and night median ICP and PA data were also collected. Linear regression models were used to test the correlation of PA with position and day/night cycle. All linear regressions were corrected for confounders. The postural ICP monitoring results of patients without obvious ICP dynamics abnormality were summarized.

RESULTS

One hundred one patients (24 males and 77 females) with a mean age of 39 ± 13years (mean ± standard deviation) were included in the study. The adjusted linear regression models demonstrated a significant association of ICP with position and day/night cycle, with upright (sitting and standing) and day ICP values lower than supine and night ICP values. The adjusted linear regression model was also significant for the association of PA with position and day/night cycle, with upright and day PA values higher than supine and night PA results. These associations were confirmed for patients with and without shunts. Patients without clear ICP dynamics abnormality had tighter control of their postural ICP changes than the other patients; however, the difference among groups was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest study investigating the effect of postural changes on intracranial compliance. The results of this study suggest that PA, as well as ICP, is significantly associated with posture, increasing in upright positions compared to that while supine. Further studies will be needed to investigate the mechanism behind this association.