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Nancy R. Temkin, Richard Holubkov, Joan E. Machamer, H. Richard Winn and Sureyya S. Dikmen

✓ A cohort of 514 hospitalized head-injury survivors was identified based on their injury and 448 (87%) of them were followed for 1 year. Comprehensive neurobehavioral testing was performed 1 month and 1 year after injury.

The authors developed predictions of six neuropsychological and two psychosocial outcomes 1 year after head injury. Prediction trees are presented for verbal IQ, Halstead's Impairment Index, and work status at 1 year. Early predictors of neurobehavioral outcome in survivors are similar to previously reported predictors of mortality. Extent (both depth and length) of coma and age are the medical and demographic variables most predictive of late outcome. Adding 1-month scores substantially improves prediction of neuropsychological variables.

The classification and regression tree is a useful technique for predicting long-term outcome in patients with head injury. The trees are simple enough to be used in a clinical setting and, especially with 1-month scores, predictions are accurate enough for clinical utility.

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John R. W. Kestle, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, William E. Whitehead, Marion L. Walker, W. Jerry Oakes, James M. Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, Tamara D. Simon and Richard Holubkov

Object

Quality improvement techniques are being implemented in many areas of medicine. In an effort to reduce the ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection rate, a standardized protocol was developed and implemented at 4 centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN).

Methods

The protocol was developed sequentially by HCRN members using the current literature and prior institutional experience until consensus was obtained. The protocol was prospectively applied at each HCRN center to all children undergoing a shunt insertion or revision procedure. Infections were defined on the basis of CSF, wound, or pseudocyst cultures; wound breakdown; abdominal pseudocyst; or positive blood cultures in the presence of a ventriculoatrial shunt. Procedures and infections were measured before and after protocol implementation.

Results

Twenty-one surgeons at 4 centers performed 1571 procedures between June 1, 2007, and February 28, 2009. The minimum follow-up was 6 months. The Network infection rate decreased from 8.8% prior to the protocol to 5.7% while using the protocol (p = 0.0028, absolute risk reduction 3.15%, relative risk reduction 36%). Three of 4 centers lowered their infection rate. Shunt surgery after external ventricular drainage (with or without prior infection) had the highest infection rate. Overall protocol compliance was 74.5% and improved over the course of the observation period. Based on logistic regression analysis, the use of BioGlide catheters (odds ratio [OR] 1.91, 95% CI 1.19–3.05; p = 0.007) and the use of antiseptic cream by any members of the surgical team (instead of a formal surgical scrub by all members of the surgical team; OR 4.53, 95% CI 1.43–14.41; p = 0.01) were associated with an increased risk of infection.

Conclusions

The standardized protocol for shunt surgery significantly reduced shunt infection across the HCRN. Overall protocol compliance was good. The protocol has established a common baseline within the Network, which will facilitate assessment of new treatments. Identification of factors associated with infection will allow further protocol refinement in the future.

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Tamara D. Simon, Kathryn B. Whitlock, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John R. W. Kestle, Margaret Rosenfeld, J. Michael Dean, Richard Holubkov, Marcie Langley and Nicole Mayer-Hamblett

Object

The neurosurgical literature has conflicting findings regarding the association between indications for CSF shunt placement and subsequent shunt surgery. The object of this study was to identify baseline factors at the time of initial CSF shunt placement that are independently associated with subsequent surgery.

Methods

This was a retrospective cohort study of children ages 0–18 years who underwent initial CSF shunt placement between January 1, 1997, and October 12, 2006, at a tertiary care children's hospital. The outcome of interest was CSF shunt surgery (either for revision or infection) within 12 months after initial placement. Associations between subsequent CSF shunt surgery and indication for the initial shunt, adjusting for patient age and surgeon factors at the time of initial placement, were estimated using multivariate logistic regression. Medical and surgical decisions, which varied according to surgeon, were examined separately in a univariate analysis.

Results

Of the 554 children in the study cohort, 233 (42%) underwent subsequent CSF shunt surgery, either for revision (167 patients [30%]) or infection (66 patients [12%]). In multivariate logistic regression modeling, significant risk factors for subsequent CSF shunt surgery included (compared with aqueductal stenosis) intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) secondary to prematurity (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.2, 95% CI 1.1–4.5) and other unusual indications (AOR 3.7, 95% CI 1.0–13.6). The patient's age at initial CSF shunt placement was not significantly associated with increased odds of subsequent surgery after adjusting for other associated factors.

Conclusions

The occurrence of IVH is associated with increased odds of subsequent CSF shunt surgery within 12 months after shunt placement. Families of and care providers for children with IVH should be attuned to their increased risk of shunt failure.

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John C. Wellons III, Richard Holubkov, Samuel R. Browd, Jay Riva-Cambrin, William Whitehead, John Kestle, Abhaya V. Kulkarni and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

Object

Previous studies from the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) have shown a great degree of variation in surgical decision making for infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus, such as when to temporize, when to shunt, or when to convert. Since much of this clinical decision making is dictated by clinical signs of increased intracranial pressure (including bulging fontanel and splitting of sutures), the authors investigated whether there was variability in how these signs were being assessed by neurosurgeons. They wanted to answer the following question: is there acceptable interrater reliability in the neurosurgical assessment of bulging fontanel and split sutures?

Methods

Explicit written definitions of “bulging fontanel” and “split sutures” were agreed upon with consensus across the HCRN. At 5 HCRN centers, pairs of neurosurgeons independently assessed premature infants in the first 3 months of life for the presence of a split suture and/or bulging fontanel, according to the a priori definitions. Interrater reliability was then calculated between pairs of observers using the Cohen simple kappa coefficient. Institutional board review approval was obtained at each center and at the University of Utah Data Coordinating Center.

Results

A total of 38 infants were assessed by 13 different raters (10 faculty, 2 fellows, and 1 resident). The kappa for bulging fontanel was 0.65 (95% CI 0.41–0.90), and the kappa for split sutures was 0.84 (95% CI 0.66–1.0). No complications from the study were encountered.

Conclusions

The authors have found a high degree of interrater reliability among neurosurgeons in their assessment of bulging fontanel and split sutures. While decision making may vary, the clinical assessment of this cohort appears to be consistent among these physicians, which is crucial for prospective studies moving forward.

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Michael A. Williams, Sean J. Nagel, Mark G. Luciano, Norman Relkin, Thomas J. Zwimpfer, Heather Katzen, Richard Holubkov, Abhay Moghekar, Jeffrey H. Wisoff, Guy M. McKhann II, James Golomb, Richard J. Edwards and Mark G. Hamilton

OBJECTIVE

The authors describe the demographics and clinical characteristics of the first 517 patients enrolled in the Adult Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (AHCRN) during its first 2 years.

METHODS

Adults ≥ 18 years were nonconsecutively enrolled in a registry at 6 centers. Four categories of adult hydrocephalus were defined: transition (treated before age 18 years), unrecognized congenital (congenital pattern, not treated before age 18 years), acquired (secondary to known risk factors, treated or untreated), and suspected idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) (≥ age 65 years, not previously treated). Data include etiology, symptoms, examination findings, neuropsychology screening, comorbidities, treatment, complications, and outcomes. Standard evaluations were administered to all patients by trained examiners, including the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, the Beck Depression Inventory–II, the Overactive Bladder Questionnaire Short Form symptom bother, the 10-Meter Walk Test, the Boon iNPH gait scale, the Lawton Activities of Daily Living/Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ADL/IADL) questionnaire, the iNPH grading scale, and the modified Rankin Scale.

RESULTS

Overall, 517 individuals were enrolled. Age ranged from 18.1 to 90.7 years, with patients in the transition group (32.7 ± 10.0 years) being the youngest and those in the suspected iNPH group (76.5 ± 5.2 years) being the oldest. The proportion of patients in each group was as follows: 16.6% transition, 26.5% unrecognized congenital, 18.2% acquired, and 38.7% suspected iNPH. Excluding the 86 patients in the transition group, who all had received treatment, 79.4% of adults in the remaining 3 groups had not been treated at the time of enrollment. Patients in the suspected iNPH group had the poorest performance in cognitive evaluations, and those in the unrecognized congenital group had the best performance. The same pattern was seen in the Lawton ADL/IADL scores. Gait velocity was lowest in patients in the suspected iNPH group. Categories that had the most comorbidities (suspected iNPH) or etiologies of hydrocephalus that directly cause neurological injury (transition, acquired) had greater degrees of impairment compared to unrecognized congenital, which had the fewest comorbidities or etiologies associated with neurological injury.

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical spectrum of hydrocephalus in adults comprises more than iNPH or acquired hydrocephalus. Only 39% of patients had suspected iNPH, whereas 43% had childhood onset (i.e., those in the transition and unrecognized congenital groups). The severity of symptoms and impairment was worsened when the etiology of the hydrocephalus or complications of treatment caused additional neurological injury or when multiple comorbidities were present. However, more than half of patients in the transition, unrecognized congenital, and acquired hydrocephalus groups had minimal or no impairment. Excluding the transition group, nearly 80% of patients in the AHCRN registry were untreated at the time of enrollment. A future goal for the AHCRN is to determine whether patients with unrecognized congenital and acquired hydrocephalus need treatment and which patients in the suspected iNPH cohort actually have possible hydrocephalus and should undergo further diagnostic testing. Future prospective research is needed in the diagnosis, treatment, outcomes, quality of life, and macroeconomics of all categories of adult hydrocephalus.

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Richard Holubkov, Samuel R. Browd, D. Douglas Cochrane, James M. Drake, David D. Limbrick, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, John R. W. Kestle and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is now established as a viable treatment option for a subgroup of children with hydrocephalus. Here, the authors report prospective, multicenter results from the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) to provide the most accurate determination of morbidity, complication incidence, and efficacy of ETV in children and to determine if intraoperative predictors of ETV success add substantially to preoperative predictors.

METHODS

All children undergoing a first ETV (without choroid plexus cauterization) at 1 of 7 HCRN centers up to June 2013 were included in the study and followed up for a minimum of 18 months. Data, including detailed intraoperative data, were prospectively collected as part of the HCRN's Core Data Project and included details of patient characteristics, ETV failure (need for repeat hydrocephalus surgery), and, in a subset of patients, postoperative complications up to the time of discharge.

RESULTS

Three hundred thirty-six eligible children underwent initial ETV, 18.8% of whom had undergone shunt placement prior to the ETV. The median age at ETV was 6.9 years (IQR 1.7–12.6), with 15.2% of the study cohort younger than 12 months of age. The most common etiologies were aqueductal stenosis (24.8%) and midbrain or tectal lesions (21.2%). Visible forniceal injury (16.6%) was more common than previously reported, whereas severe bleeding (1.8%), thalamic contusion (1.8%), venous injury (1.5%), hypothalamic contusion (1.5%), and major arterial injury (0.3%) were rare. The most common postoperative complications were CSF leak (4.4%), hyponatremia (3.9%), and pseudomeningocele (3.9%). New neurological deficit occurred in 1.5% cases, with 0.5% being permanent.

One hundred forty-one patients had documented failure of their ETV requiring repeat hydrocephalus surgery during follow-up, 117 of them during the first 6 months postprocedure. Kaplan-Meier rates of 30-day, 90-day, 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year failure-free survival were 73.7%, 66.7%, 64.8%, 61.7%, and 57.8%, respectively. According to multivariate modeling, the preoperative ETV Success Score (ETVSS) was associated with ETV success (p < 0.001), as was the intraoperative ability to visualize a “naked” basilar artery (p = 0.023).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' documented experience represents the most detailed account of ETV results in North America and provides the most accurate picture to date of ETV success and complications, based on contemporaneously collected prospective data. Serious complications with ETV are low. In addition to the ETVSS, visualization of a naked basilar artery is predictive of ETV success.

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Jay Riva-Cambrin, Chevis N. Shannon, Richard Holubkov, William E. Whitehead, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James Drake, Tamara D. Simon, Samuel R. Browd, John R. W. Kestle and John C. Wellons III

Object

There is little consensus regarding the indications for surgical CSF diversion (either with implanted temporizing devices [reservoir or subgaleal shunt] or shunt alone) in preterm infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus. The authors determined clinical and neuroimaging factors associated with the use of surgical CSF diversion among neonates with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), and describe variations in practice patterns across 4 large pediatric centers.

Methods

The use of implanted temporizing devices and conversion to permanent shunts was examined in a consecutive sample of 110 neonates surgically treated for IVH related to prematurity from the 4 clinical centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN). Clinical, neuroimaging, and so-called processes of care factors were analyzed.

Results

Seventy-three (66%) of the patients underwent temporization procedures, including 50 ventricular reservoir and 23 subgaleal shunt placements. Center (p < 0.001), increasing ventricular size (p = 0.04), and bradycardia (p = 0.07) were associated with the use of an implanted temporizing device, whereas apnea, occipitofrontal circumference (OFC), and fontanel assessments were not. Implanted temporizing devices were converted to permanent shunts in 65 (89%) of the 73 neonates. Only a full fontanel (p < 0.001) and increased ventricular size (p = 0.002) were associated with conversion of the temporizing devices to permanent shunts, whereas center, OFCs, and clot characteristics were not.

Conclusions

Considerable center variability exists in neurosurgical approaches to temporization of IVH in prematurity within the HCRN; however, variation between centers is not seen with permanent shunting. Increasing ventricular size—rather than classic clinical findings such as increasing OFCs—represents the threshold for either temporization or shunting of CSF.

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William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Richard Holubkov, Anna Illner, W. Jerry Oakes, Thomas G. Luerssen, Marion L. Walker, James M. Drake and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Cerebrospinal fluid shunt ventricular catheters inserted into the frontal horn or trigone are associated with prolonged shunt survival. Developing surgical techniques for accurate catheter insertion could, therefore, be beneficial to patients. This study was conducted to determine if the rate of accurate catheter location with intraoperative ultrasound guidance could exceed 80%.

Methods

The authors conducted a prospective, multicenter study of children (< 18 years) requiring first-time treatment for hydrocephalus with a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Using intraoperative ultrasound, surgeons were required to target the frontal horn or trigone for catheter tip placement. An intraoperative ultrasound image was obtained at the time of catheter insertion. Ventricular catheter location, the primary outcome measure, was determined from the first postoperative image. A control group of patients treated by nonultrasound surgeons (conventional surgeons) were enrolled using the same study criteria. Conventional shunt surgeons also agreed to target the frontal horn or trigone for all catheter insertions. Patients were triaged to participating surgeons based on call schedules at each center. A pediatric neuroradiologist blinded to method of insertion, center, and surgeon determined ventricular catheter tip location.

Results

Eleven surgeons enrolled as ultrasound surgeons and 6 as conventional surgeons. Between February 2009 and February 2010, 121 patients were enrolled at 4 Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network centers. Experienced ultrasound surgeons (> 15 cases prior to study) operated on 67 patients; conventional surgeons operated on 52 patients. Experienced ultrasound surgeons achieved accurate catheter location in 39 (59%) of 66 patients, 95% CI (46%–71%). Intraoperative ultrasound images were compared with postoperative scans. In 32.7% of cases, the catheter tip moved from an accurate location on the intraoperative ultrasound image to an inaccurate location on the postoperative study. This was the most significant factor affecting accuracy. In comparison, conventional surgeons achieved accurate location in 24 (49.0%) of 49 cases (95% CI [34%–64%]). The shunt survival rate at 1 year was 70.8% in the experienced ultrasound group and 66.9% in the conventional group (p = 0.66). Ultrasound surgeons had more catheters surrounded by CSF (30.8% vs 6.1%, p = 0.0012) and away from the choroid plexus (72.3% vs 58.3%, p = 0.12), and fewer catheters in the brain (3% vs 22.4%, p = 0.0011) and crossing the midline (4.5% vs 34.7%, p < 0.001), but they had a higher proportion of postoperative pseudomeningocele (10.1% vs 3.8%, p = 0.30), wound dehiscence (5.8% vs 0%, p = 0.13), CSF leak (10.1% vs 1.9%, p = 0.14), and shunt infection (11.6% vs 5.8%, p = 0.35).

Conclusions

Ultrasound-guided shunt insertion as performed in this study was unable to consistently place catheters into the frontal horn or trigone. The technique is safe and achieves outcomes similar to other conventional shunt insertion techniques. Further efforts to improve accurate catheter location should focus on prevention of catheter migration that occurs between intraoperative placement and postoperative imaging. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01007786 (ClinicalTrials.gov).