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Zofia Czosnyka, John D. Pickard and Marek Czosnyka

Object

Independent testing of hydrocephalus shunts provides information about the quality of CSF drainage after shunt implantation. Moreover, hydrodynamic parameters of a valve assessed in the laboratory create a comparative pattern for testing of shunt performance in vivo. This study sought to assess the hydrodynamic parameters of the Certas valve, a new model of a hydrocephalus shunt.

Methods

The Certas valve is an adjustable ball-on-spring hydrocephalus valve. It can be adjusted magnetically in vivo in 7 steps, equally distributed within the therapeutic limit for hydrocephalus, and the eighth step at high pressures intended to block CSF drainage. The magnetically adjustable rotor is designed to prevent accidental readjustment of the valve in a magnetic field, including clinical MRI.

Results

The pressure-flow performance curves, as well as the operating, opening, and closing pressures, were stable, fell within the specified limits, and changed according to the adjusted performance levels. The valve at settings 1–7 demonstrated low hydrodynamic resistance of 1.4 mm Hg/ml/min, increasing to 5.1 mm Hg/ml/min after connection of a distal drain provided by the manufacturer. At performance Level 8 the hydrodynamic resistance was greater than 20 mm Hg/ml/min. External programming of the valve proved to be easy and reliable. The valve is safe in 3-T MRI and the performance level of the valve is unlikely to be changed. However, with the valve implanted, distortion of the image is substantial. Integration of the valve with the SiphonGuard limits the drainage rate.

Conclusions

In the laboratory the Certas valve appears to be a reliable differential-pressure adjustable valve. Laboratory evaluation should be supplemented by results of a clinical audit in the future.

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Marek Czosnyka

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Aswin Chari, Marek Czosnyka, Hugh K. Richards, John D. Pickard and Zofia H. Czosnyka

Object

The Cambridge Shunt Evaluation Laboratory was established 20 years ago. This paper summarizes the findings of that laboratory for the clinician.

Methods

Twenty-six models of valves have been tested long-term in the shunt laboratory according to the expanded International Organization for Standardization 7197 standard protocol.

Results

The majority of the valves had a nonphysiologically low hydrodynamic resistance (from 1.5 to 3 mm Hg/[ml/min]), which may result in overdrainage related to posture and during nocturnal cerebral vasogenic waves. A long distal catheter increases the resistance of these valves by 100%–200%. Drainage through valves without a siphon-preventing mechanism is very sensitive to body posture, which may result in grossly negative intracranial pressure. Siphon-preventing accessories offer a reasonable resistance to negative outlet pressure; however, accessories with membrane devices may be blocked by raised subcutaneous pressure. In adjustable valves, the settings may be changed by external magnetic fields of intensity above 40 mT (exceptions: ProGAV, Polaris, and Certas). Most of the magnetically adjustable valves produce large distortions on MRI studies.

Conclusions

The behavior of a valve revealed during testing is of relevance to the surgeon and may not be adequately described in the manufacturer's product information. The results of shunt testing are helpful in many circumstances, such as the initial choice of shunt and the evaluation of the shunt when its dysfunction is suspected.

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Marek Czosnyka, Hugh K. Richards, Zofia Czosnyka, Stefan Piechnik and John D. Pickard

Object. The aim of the study was to assess how cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure—volume compensation depends on cerebrovascular tone.

Methods. In 26 New Zealand White rabbits, intracranial pressure (ICP), arterial blood pressure, and basilar artery blood flow velocity were measured continuously. Saline was infused into the cranial subarachnoid space to assess CSF compensatory parameters: the resistance to CSF outflow, the elastance coefficient, and the amplitude of the ICP pulsatile waveform. Infusions were repeated on two different levels of CO2 concentration in the arterial blood (PaCO2), at normotension and hypotension, and after the death of the animal.

An increase in PaCO2 from a mean of 27 to 48 mm Hg was accompanied by an 18% increase in the resistance to CSF outflow (p < 0.005) and a 64% increase (p < 0.05) in the elastance coefficient. A decrease in arterial blood pressure from a mean of 100 to 51 mm Hg caused a 25% decrease in CSF outflow resistance (p < 0.01) but did not affect the elastance coefficient. Postmortem, a 23% decrease in the CSF outflow resistance was associated with a 102% decrease in the elastance coefficient.

Conclusions. Cerebrovascular parameters have a limited but significant impact on CSF infusion studies. The vascular component of ICP may be identified as a significant factor contributing to this phenomenon. During infusion studies, physiological parameters influencing vascular conditions should be maintained as stable as possible.

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Ewa Szczepek and Waldemar Koszewski

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Nicole C. H. Keong, Alonso Pena, Stephen J. Price, Marek Czosnyka, Zofia Czosnyka and John D. Pickard

The pathophysiology of NPH continues to provoke debate. Although guidelines and best-practice recommendations are well established, there remains a lack of consensus about the role of individual imaging modalities in characterizing specific features of the condition and predicting the success of CSF shunting. Variability of clinical presentation and imperfect responsiveness to shunting are obstacles to the application of novel imaging techniques. Few studies have sought to interpret imaging findings in the context of theories of NPH pathogenesis. In this paper, the authors discuss the major streams of thought for the evolution of NPH and the relevance of key imaging studies contributing to the understanding of the pathophysiology of this complex condition.