✓ In 61 patients (38 adults and 23 children) with surgically treatable tumors of the posterior fossa and obstructive hydrocephalus the following treatment for hydrocephalus was employed: 1) a high dose of steroids was given after diagnosis; 2) a frontal ventricular catheter with a subcutaneous fluid reservoir (Rickham) was inserted within 2 to 5 days; 3) a temporary external ventricular drainage system was attached to the reservoir if, despite the steroids, intracranial pressure was over 30 cm H2O; and 4) tumor excision was performed within 5 days to reopen the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pathways. In view of the wide range of potential complications, it was decided not to use a shunt before craniotomy. A shunt was inserted only if the CSF pathways remained obstructed after tumor removal. With this regimen, 93% of all patients (100% of the adults and 83% of the children) were shunt-free after the operation, without fatal complications. The infection rate was 4.9%.
It was concluded that the severity of symptoms of raised intracranial pressure from hydrocephalus, the intraventricular pressure, and the size or location of the tumor prior to surgery do not have prognostic value as to which patients will require a shunt after surgery.