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Zhiquan Damian Lee, David Low Chyi Yeu, Beng Ti Ang, Wai Hoe Ng and Wan Tew Seow

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Lester Lee, Sharon Low, David Low, Lee Ping Ng, Colum Nolan and Wan Tew Seow

OBJECTIVE

The introduction of ventriculoperitoneal shunts changed the way hydrocephalus was treated. Whereas much is known about the causes of shunt failure in the first few years, there is a paucity of data in the literature regarding the cause of late shunt failures. The authors conducted a study to find out the different causes of late shunt failures in their institution.

METHODS

A 10-year retrospective study of all the patients who were treated in the authors' hospital between 2006 and 2015 was conducted. Late shunt failures included those in patients who had to undergo shunt revision more than 5 years after their initial shunt insertion. The patient's notes and scans were reviewed to obtain the age and sex of the patient, the time it took for the shunt to fail, the reason for failure, and the patient's follow-up.

RESULTS

Forty-six patients in the authors' institution experienced 48 late shunt failures in the last 10 years. Their ages ranged from 7 to 26 years (12.23 ± 4.459 years [mean ± SD]). The time it took for the shunts to fail was between 6 and 24 years (mean 10.25 ± 3.77 years). Reasons for failure resulting in shunt revision include shunt fracture in 24 patients (50%), shunt blockage in 14 patients (29.2%), tract fibrosis in 6 patients (12.5%), shunt dislodgement in 2 patients (4.2%), and shunt erosion in 2 patients (4.2%). Postoperative follow-up for the patients ranged from 6 to 138 months (mean 45.15 ± 33.26 months).

CONCLUSIONS

Late shunt failure is caused by the effects of aging on the shunt, and the complications are different from early shunt failure. A large proportion are complications associated with shunt calcification. The authors advocate a long follow-up for pediatric patients with shunts in situ to monitor them for various causes of late shunt failure.

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Wan-Yee Teo, Jennifer Ross, Robert J. Bollo, Wan-Tew Seow, Ah-Moy Tan, Seok-Gu Kang, Dong-Seok Kim, Xiao-Nan Li, Ching C. Lau, Carrie A. Mohila, Adekunle M. Adesina and Jack M. Su

The authors describe a series of 15 intracranial germ cell tumors (IGCTs) excluding mature teratomas; 3 cases in children younger than 3 years of age who were treated at 3 different international institutions over the course of 20 years, and 12 from a PubMed search. These tumors, with possible in utero origins, often occur in atypical locations. The clinical behavior differed significantly from these tumors' counterparts in older children. In this young age group germinoma is highly aggressive, whereas nongerminomatous germ cell tumors may be cured without radiotherapy. Ongoing genomic studies reveal insights to attain an understanding of the biology of these tumors. New treatment strategies are needed to improve outcomes for IGCTs in this age group, particularly for germinomas.