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Anna-Felicitas Gebert, Matthias Schulz, Karin Schwarz and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

OBJECTIVE

The use of adjustable differential pressure valves with gravity-assisted units in shunt therapy of children with hydrocephalus was reported to be feasible and promising as a way to avoid chronic overdrainage. In this single-center study, the authors' experiences in infants, who have higher rates of shunt complications, are presented.

METHODS

All data were collected from a cohort of infants (93 patients [37 girls and 56 boys], less than 1 year of age [mean age 4.1 ± 3.1 months]) who received their first adjustable pressure hydrocephalus shunt as either a primary or secondary implant between May 2007 and April 2012. Rates of valve and shunt failure were recorded for a total of 85 months until the end of the observation period in May 2014.

RESULTS

During a follow-up of 54.2 ± 15.9 months (range 26–85 months), the Kaplan-Meier rate of shunt survival was 69.2% at 1 year and 34.1% at 85 months; the Kaplan-Meier rate of valve survival was 77.8% at 1 year and 56% at 85 months. Survival rates of the shunt were significantly inferior if the patients had previous shunt surgery. During follow-up, 44 valves were exchanged in cases of infection (n = 19), occlusion (n = 14), dysfunction of the adjustment unit (n = 10), or to change the gravitational unit (n = 1).

CONCLUSIONS

Although a higher shunt complication rate is observed in infant populations compared with older children, reasonable survival rates demonstrate the feasibility of using this sophisticated valve technology. The gravitational unit of this valve is well tolerated and its adjustability offers the flexible application of opening pressure in an unpredictable cohort of patients. This may adequately address overdrainage-related complications from early in treatment.

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Matthias Schulz, Christoph Bührer, Anja Pohl-Schickinger, Hannes Haberl and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

Object

Neonatal intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) may evolve into posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus and cause neurodevelopmental impairment. In this study, an endoscopic surgical approach directed toward the removal of intraventricular hematoma was evaluated for its safety and efficacy.

Methods

Between August 2010 and December 2012 (29 months), 19 neonates with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus underwent neuroendoscopic lavage for removal of intraventricular blood remnants. During a similar length of time (29 months) from March 2008 to July 2010, 10 neonates were treated conventionally, initially using temporary CSF diversion via lumbar punctures, a ventricular access device, or an external ventricular drain. Complications and shunt dependency rates were evaluated retrospectively.

Results

The patient groups did not differ regarding gestational age and birth weight. In the endoscopy group, no relevant procedure-related complications were observed. After the endoscopic lavage, 11 (58%) of 19 patients required a later shunt insertion, as compared with 100% of infants treated conventionally (p < 0.05). Endoscopic lavage was associated with fewer numbers of overall necessary procedures (median 2 vs 3.5 per patient, respectively; p = 0.08), significantly fewer infections (2 vs 5 patients, respectively; p < 0.05), or supratentorial multiloculated hydrocephalus (0 vs 4 patients, respectively; p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Within the presented setup the authors could demonstrate the feasibility and safety of neuroendoscopic lavage for the treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in neonates with IVH. The nominally improved results warrant further verification in a multicenter, prospective study.

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Matthias Schulz, Georg Bohner, Hannah Knaus, Hannes Haberl and Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale

Object

Multiloculated hydrocephalus remains a challenging condition to treat in the pediatric hydrocephalic population. In a retrospective study, the authors reviewed their experience with navigated endoscopy to treat multiloculated hydrocephalus in children.

Methods

Between April 2004 and September 2008, navigated endoscopic procedures were performed in 16 children with multiloculated hydrocephalus (median age 8 months, mean age 16.1 ± 23.3 months). In all patients preoperative MR imaging was used for planning entry sites and trajectories of the endoscopic approach for cyst perforation and catheter positioning. Intraoperatively, a rigid endoscope was tracked by the navigation system. For all children the total number of operative procedures, navigated endoscopic procedures, implanted ventricular catheters, and drained compartments were recorded. In addition, postoperative complications and radiological follow-up data were analyzed.

Results

In 16 children, a total of 91 procedures were performed to treat multiloculated hydrocephalus, including 29 navigated endoscopic surgeries. Finally, 21 navigated procedures involved 1 ventricular catheter and 8 involved 2 catheters for CSF diversion via the shunt. The average number of drained compartments in a shunt was 3.6 ± 1.7 (range 2–9 compartments). In 9 patients (56%) a navigated endoscopic procedure constituted the last procedure within the follow-up period. One additional surgery was necessary in 3 patients (19%) after navigated endoscopy, and in 4 patients (25%) 2 further procedures were necessary after navigated endoscopy. Serial follow-up MR imaging demonstrated evidence of sufficient CSF diversion in all patients.

Conclusions

Navigated endoscopic surgery is a safe and effective treatment option for multiloculated hydrocephalus. The combination of the endoscopic approach and neuronavigation further refines preoperative planning and intraoperative orientation. The aim of treatment is to drain as many compartments as possible and as soon as possible, thereby establishing sufficient CSF drainage with few ventricular catheters in single shunt systems. Close clinical and radiological follow-up is mandatory because multiple revisions are likely.

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Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale and Matthias Schulz

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Mascha Hochfeld, Hans Lamecker, Ulrich-W. Thomale, Matthias Schulz, Stefan Zachow and Hannes Haberl

The authors report on the first experiences with the prototype of a surgical tool for cranial remodeling. The device enables the surgeon to transfer statistical information, represented in a model, into the disfigured bone. The model is derived from a currently evolving databank of normal head shapes. Ultimately, the databank will provide a set of standard models covering the statistical range of normal head shapes, thus providing the required template for any standard remodeling procedure as well as customized models for intended overcorrection. To date, this technique has been used in the surgical treatment of 14 infants (age range 6–12 months) with craniosynostosis. In all 14 cases, the designated esthetic result, embodied by the selected model, has been achieved, without morbidity or mortality.

Frame-based reconstruction provides the required tools to precisely realize the surgical reproduction of the model shape. It enables the establishment of a self-referring system, feeding back postoperative growth patterns, recorded by 3D follow-up, into the model design.