Ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPSs) for hydrocephalus in patients with achondroplasia are known to have a higher failure rate than in other hydrocephalus populations. However, the etiology of hydrocephalus in this group is considered “communicating,” and, therefore, potentially not amenable to endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). ETV has, nonetheless, been reported to be successful in a small number of patients with achondroplasia. The authors aimed to investigate the long-term results of ETV in this population.
Patients with achondroplasia who had undergone surgical treatment for hydrocephalus (ETV or VPS placement) were identified. In patients who had undergone ETV, medical records and neuroimages were reviewed to determine ventricular volumes and frontal and occipital horn ratios (FOHRs) pre- and postoperatively, as well as the incidence of surgical complications and reoperation. Patients who underwent VPS placement were included for historical comparison, and their medical records were reviewed for basic demographic information as well as the incidence of surgical complications and reoperation.
Of 114 pediatric patients with achondroplasia referred for neurosurgical consultation, 19 (17%) were treated for hydrocephalus; 10 patients underwent ETV only, 7 patients underwent VPS placement only, and 2 patients had a VPS placed followed by ETV. In patients treated with ETV, ventricular volume and FOHRs were normal, if measured at birth, and increased significantly until the time of the ETV. After ETV, all patients demonstrated significant and sustained decreases in ventricular measurements with surveillance up to 15 years. There was a statistically significant difference in rates of repeat CSF surgery between the ETV and VPS cohorts (0/12 vs 7/9, p < 0.001).
ETV was efficacious, safe, and durable in the treatment of hydrocephalus in patients with achondroplasia. Although many studies have indicated that hydrocephalus in these patients is “communicating,” a subset may develop an “obstructive” component that is progressive and responsive to ETV.