Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus after rupture of intracranial aneurysms: a prospective study of the influence of treatment modality

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Object. This study was designed to determine whether the frequency of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients suffering from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) differs when comparing surgical clip application with endovascular obliteration of ruptured aneurysms.

Methods. In this prospective nonrandomized study, 245 patients with aneurysmal SAH treated using either surgical clip application or endovascular coil embolization were studied at our institution between September 1997 and March 2003. One hundred eighty patients underwent clip application and 65 had coil embolization. In those patients who underwent clip application of anterior circulation aneurysms, the lamina terminalis was systematically fenestrated.

The occurrence of acute, asymptomatic, and shunt-dependent hydrocephalus was analyzed in both treatment groups. A subgroup analysis of patients with good clinical grade (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies [WFNS] Grades I–III) and better Fisher Grade (1–3) and of patients with Fisher Grade 4 hemorrhage was performed.

Acute hydrocephalus was observed in 19% of surgical cases and 46% of endovascular ones. The occurrence of asymptomatic hydrocephalus was similar in both treatment groups (p = 0.4). Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus occurred in 14% of surgical cases and 19% of endovascular cases. This difference did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.53). Logistic regression models controlling for patient age, WFNS grade, Fisher grade, and acute hydrocephalus in patients with good clinical grade and better Fisher grade revealed no significant difference in the rate of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in both therapy groups (odds ratio [OR] 0.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.2–2.65). Results of similar models indicated that among patients with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), surgical clip application carried a lower risk of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.14–0.75) compared with that for endovascular embolization.

Conclusions. Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus was comparable in the two treatment groups, even in patients with better clinical and radiological grades on admission. Only patients in the endovascular therapy group who had experienced IVH showed a higher likelihood of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Amir R. Dehdashti, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, CHUV, 46 Rue de Bugnon, 1011, Lausanne, Switzerland. email: amir.dehdashti@hospvd.ch.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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