Lower rates of symptom recurrence and surgical revision after primary compared with secondary endoscopic third ventriculostomy for obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis in adults

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OBJECT

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is the treatment of choice for obstructive hydrocephalus; however, the success of ETV in patients who have previously undergone shunt placement remains unclear. The present study analyzed 103 adult patients with aqueductal stenosis who underwent ETV for obstructive hydrocephalus and evaluated the effect of previous shunt placement on post-ETV outcomes.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of 151 consecutive patients who were treated between 2007 and 2013 with ETV for hydrocephalus. One hundred three (68.2%) patients with aqueductal stenosis causing obstructive hydrocephalus were included in the analysis. Postoperative ETV patency and aqueductal and cisternal flow were assessed by high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI. Post-ETV Mini-Mental State Examination, Timed Up and Go, and Tinetti scores were compared with preoperative values. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed comparing the post-ETV outcomes in patients who underwent a primary (no previous shunt) ETV (n = 64) versus secondary (previous shunt) ETV (n = 39).

RESULTS

The majority of patients showed significant improvement in symptoms after ETV; however, no significant differences were seen in any of the quantitative tests performed during follow-up. Symptom recurrence occurred in 29 (28.2%) patients after ETV, after a median of 3.0 (interquartile range 0.8–8.0) months post-ETV failure. Twenty-seven (26.2%) patients required surgical revision after their initial ETV. Patients who received a secondary ETV had higher rates of symptom recurrence (p = 0.003) and surgical revision (p = 0.003), particularly in regard to additional shunt placement/revision post-ETV (p = 0.005). These differences remained significant after multivariate analysis for both symptom recurrence (p = 0.030) and surgical revision (p = 0.043).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with obstructive hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis exhibit symptomatic improvement after ETV, with a relatively low failure rate. Patients with a primary history of shunt placement who undergo ETV as a secondary intervention are at increased risk of symptom recurrence and need for surgical revision post-ETV.

ABBREVIATIONSCISS = constructive interference in steady state; DVT = deep venous thrombosis; ETV = endoscopic third ventriculostomy; IQR = interquartile range; MMSE = Mini-Mental State Examination; NPH = normal pressure hydrocephalus; PE = pulmonary embolism; TUG = Timed Up and Go.

OBJECT

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is the treatment of choice for obstructive hydrocephalus; however, the success of ETV in patients who have previously undergone shunt placement remains unclear. The present study analyzed 103 adult patients with aqueductal stenosis who underwent ETV for obstructive hydrocephalus and evaluated the effect of previous shunt placement on post-ETV outcomes.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of 151 consecutive patients who were treated between 2007 and 2013 with ETV for hydrocephalus. One hundred three (68.2%) patients with aqueductal stenosis causing obstructive hydrocephalus were included in the analysis. Postoperative ETV patency and aqueductal and cisternal flow were assessed by high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI. Post-ETV Mini-Mental State Examination, Timed Up and Go, and Tinetti scores were compared with preoperative values. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed comparing the post-ETV outcomes in patients who underwent a primary (no previous shunt) ETV (n = 64) versus secondary (previous shunt) ETV (n = 39).

RESULTS

The majority of patients showed significant improvement in symptoms after ETV; however, no significant differences were seen in any of the quantitative tests performed during follow-up. Symptom recurrence occurred in 29 (28.2%) patients after ETV, after a median of 3.0 (interquartile range 0.8–8.0) months post-ETV failure. Twenty-seven (26.2%) patients required surgical revision after their initial ETV. Patients who received a secondary ETV had higher rates of symptom recurrence (p = 0.003) and surgical revision (p = 0.003), particularly in regard to additional shunt placement/revision post-ETV (p = 0.005). These differences remained significant after multivariate analysis for both symptom recurrence (p = 0.030) and surgical revision (p = 0.043).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with obstructive hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis exhibit symptomatic improvement after ETV, with a relatively low failure rate. Patients with a primary history of shunt placement who undergo ETV as a secondary intervention are at increased risk of symptom recurrence and need for surgical revision post-ETV.

ABBREVIATIONSCISS = constructive interference in steady state; DVT = deep venous thrombosis; ETV = endoscopic third ventriculostomy; IQR = interquartile range; MMSE = Mini-Mental State Examination; NPH = normal pressure hydrocephalus; PE = pulmonary embolism; TUG = Timed Up and Go.

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is considered the initial treatment of choice for obstructive hydrocephalus, with significant improvement reported in more than 75% of hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis and approximately 95% of outflow obstruction of the third ventricle caused by space-occupying lesions.10,16,23 ETV is also the preferred treatment for symptomatic congenital aqueductal stenosis, as well as a viable option for patients whose aqueductal stenosis is acquired.16 Overall, the largest adult series have displayed success rates ranging from 66% to 88% in hydrocephalus management.10 However, the success of ETV in patients who have previously undergone shunt placement remains uncertain.13 Whereas some studies have defined shunt independence as the criterion for ETV success,3,10,12 symptomatic improvement is considered the main indicator of a successful outcome after ETV.13

Previous studies found that several factors probably influence the outcome after ETV, including the etiology of hydrocephalus, age at treatment, previous shunt or radiation exposure, concurrent CSF infection, third ventricular bowing, intraventricular tumor, and anatomical factors such as the extent of Liliequist’s membrane.6,14,17,18,20 In certain instances, patients may display a combination of both communicating and obstructive hydrocephalus, further complicating the prediction of ETV success.24 These prior studies were largely limited by inadequate resolution of routine MRI sequences and/or lack of large and homogeneous patient cohorts, complicating the evaluation of the authors’ conclusions.6,14,18 In addition, the published results of studies involving patients who underwent shunt placement prior to undergoing an ETV are inconsistent.13

In the present study, we evaluated the effect of previous shunt placement on postoperative ETV patency and present clinical outcomes of patients diagnosed with obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis.

Methods

Patients

Under an active protocol approved by our institutional review board, a retrospective review of the clinical and radiographic data of 151 consecutive adult patients, treated between 2007 and 2013 with ETV for hydrocephalus, was performed. One hundred three (68.2%) patients with obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis were included (Fig. 1). A total of 48 (31.8%) patients were excluded: 17 (11.3%) patients with foramen of Magendie obstruction, 14 (9.3%) patients with infratentorial subarachnoid space obstruction, 3 (2.0%) patients with obstruction secondary to a suprasellar cyst, 4 (2.6%) patients with other obstructive etiologies (e.g., tumor or achondroplasia), and 10 (6.6%) patients with a diagnosis of communicating or idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). All patients were over the age of 21 years and treated at our institution by the senior author (D.R.). Demographic information concerning sex, race, age at treatment, and previous shunting was collected. Baseline data concerning whether aqueductal stenosis was congenital or acquired, duration of symptoms prior to ETV, Evans’ index, presenting symptoms (e.g., headache, dizziness, nausea, vision deficits, gait abnormalities, urinary incontinence, and cognitive dysfunction), and baseline Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Timed Up and Go (TUG), and Tinetti scores were reviewed. Congenital hydrocephalus was determined based on a history of hydrocephalus at an early age (< 3 years) or radiographic abnormalities suggestive of a congenital malformation or aberrant anatomy of the ventricular system in conjunction with craniomegaly. Patients were considered to have acquired aqueductal stenosis if obstructive hydrocephalus was due to tumor, trauma-induced hemorrhage, or radiographic evidence of aqueductal stenosis in the absence of craniomegaly. Preoperative high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI sequences were obtained in the majority of patients (n = 88,85.4%) (Fig. 2). Individuals whose obstruction was easily visualized on prior, traditional MRI sequences, or who received an emergency ETV after shunt failure, did not receive a high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI prior to ETV (n = 15,14.6%).

FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.

Inclusion/exclusion criteria. Overall ETV success was determined by clinical improvement without the need for subsequent surgical intervention.

FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.

Preoperative (A) high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI sagittal sequence showing a bowed ventricular floor and bulging lamina terminalis, characteristic of obstructive hydrocephalus, with subsequent resolution after primary ETV (B).

Clinical and Radiological Follow-Up

All intra- and postoperative complications within 6 weeks after surgery were recorded. Postoperative complications were categorized as deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), pneumonia, wound infection, wound dehiscence, postoperative anemia requiring transfusion, or other. ETV success was determined by clinical improvement in the patient’s presenting symptoms without the need for subsequent surgical intervention, regardless of ventriculostoma patency. Overall clinical outcome was evaluated by the clinical assessment reports of the treating neurosurgeon. In addition, post-ETV MMSE, TUG, and Tinetti scores were compared with preoperative values. Postoperative Evans’ index, ETV patency, and aqueductal and cisternal flow were assessed by high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI and phase-contrast imaging. Last follow-up included all visits after initial ETV or after subsequent revision surgery.

Statistical Analysis

Quantitative data are expressed as the median (interquartile range [IQR]) for continuous, nonparametric variables and frequency (%) for categorical variables. For intergroup comparison, Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used for continuous data and Fisher’s exact test for categorical data. McNemar’s chi-square test was used to compare symptoms and the paired Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare quantitative test scores between baseline and last follow-up. Multivariate logistic regression was performed with forward selection of variables with p < 0.1 in the univariate logistic regression analysis to assess risk factors associated with symptom recurrence and need for surgical revision (R statistic software, version 3.0.2, R Foundation for Statistical Computing). Cox regression analysis was performed for time to symptom recurrence/surgical revision or time to last follow-up in patients who did not experience recurrence or undergo revision. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. ORs were reported with 95% CIs.

Results

One hundred three patients were treated with ETV for obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis. The median age at treatment was 51 (36–62) years. Fifty-four (52.4%) patients were women and 49 (47.6%) were men; the majority of patients were Caucasian (n = 71, 68.9%) (Table 1). Aqueductal stenosis was congenital in 25 (24.3%) patients and acquired in 78 (75.7%). The duration of symptoms prior to ETV was 7 (2–24) months. Preoperative Evans’ index was 0.38 (0.36–0.40). ETV was primary (no previous shunt) in 64 (62.1%) patients and secondary (previous shunt) in 39 (37.9%). The median age at initial shunt placement was 18 (0–42) years. Of the 39 patients who received a secondary ETV, a median of 5 (2–9) prior shunt revisions were performed, with the most recent shunt surgery performed 34.7 (1.1–174.0) months prior to ETV. The most common presenting symptoms were gait impairment (n = 64, 62.1%) and cognitive decline (n = 64,62.1%). Median preoperative MMSE, TUG, and Tinetti scores were 27 (22–29), 11.33 (9.17–20.28) seconds, and 25 (15–28), respectively.

TABLE 1.

Demographic data in 103 patients with aqueductal stenosis

Baseline Characteristics*All Patients (n = 103)Primary ETV (n = 64)Secondary ETV (n = 39)p Value
Median age, yrs (IQR)51 (36–62)52 (41–65)39 (32–57)0.005
Female sex54 (52.4)32 (50.0)22 (56.4)0.549
Race0.854
 Caucasian71 (68.9)45 (70.3)26 (66.7)
 African American21 (20.4)13 (20.3)8 (20.5)
 Other11 (10.7)6 (9.4)5 (12.8)
Etiology of aqueductal stenosis<0.001
 Congenital25 (24.3)7 (10.9)18 (46.2)
 Acquired78 (75.7)57 (89.1)21 (53.8)
Symptoms at presentation
 Gait impairment64 (62.1)44 (68.8)20 (51.3)0.095
 Cognitive decline64 (62.1)40 (62.5)24 (61.5)1.000
 Headaches60 (58.3)32 (50.0)28 (71.8)0.040
 Urinary incontinence42 (40.8)34 (53.1)8 (20.5)0.002
 Vision deficit35 (34.0)17 (26.6)18 (46.2)0.054
 Nausea26 (25.2)12 (18.8)14 (35.9)0.064
 Dizziness27 (26.2)15 (23.4)12 (30.8)0.490
Duration of symptoms prior to ETV, mos (IQR)7 (2–24)12 (4–36)3 (1–12)<0.001
Complications
 Intraop1 (1.0)1 (1.6)0 (0.0)1.000
 Postop9 (8.7)5 (7.8)4 (10.3)0.727
Follow-up duration, mos (IQR)14.5 (3.7–30.5)12.4 (2.2–24.8)20.6 (8.5–33.3)0.036
Preop quantitative tests
 MMSE, median (IQR)27 (22–29)27 (21–29)27 (25–29)0.564
 TUG, sec (IQR)11.33 (9.17–20.28)13.33 (10.00–22.57)9.08 (8.13–10.04)0.289
 Tinetti, median (IQR)25 (15–28)24 (14–27)28 (26–28)0.159
 Evans’ index, median (IQR)0.38 (0.36–0.40)0.39 (0.37–0.40)0.35 (0.34–0.35)0.046

Except where otherwise indicated, all values are expressed as the no. of patients (%).

Complications occurred in a total of 10 (9.7%) patients. There were no statistically significant differences in the complication rates between patients who received a primary versus secondary ETV (Table 1). One (1%) patient experienced an intraoperative complication during placement of the Mayfield head clamp and suffered a skull fracture requiring subsequent cranioplasty. Nine (8.7%) patients experienced transient, postoperative complications, including 1 lower-extremity DVT and 2 PEs requiring therapeutic anticoagulation, 1 wound infection resulting in septicemia and meningitis requiring 6 weeks of prolonged antibiotics, and 5 “other” complications. Postoperative complications classified as “other” included 1 episode of diabetes insipidus requiring a short course of vasopressin, 1 myocardial infarction requiring cardiac catheterization, 1 episode of paroxysmal autonomic instability requiring medical management, 1 case of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation requiring therapeutic rate control, and 1 case of catheter-associated urinary tract infection requiring antibiotics. Of note, the patient who experienced paroxysmal autonomic instability was unresponsive upon admission and underwent emergency removal of an infected shunt and emergency secondary ETV. This patient did not improve after surgery; care was subsequently withdrawn 27 days postoperatively, per the family’s request.

At last follow-up, 14.5 (3.7–30.5) months after the initial ETV, the majority of patients showed significant improvement in their symptoms (Table 2). The overall clinical outcome at last follow-up was improved in 70 (68.0%) patients, stable in 19 (18.4%) patients, worsened in 8 (7.8%) patients, and unknown in 6 (5.8%) patients. The Evans’ index at last follow-up was 0.4 (0.3–0.4). The median postoperative MMSE, TUG, and Tinetti scores were 29 (27–30), 12.17 (8.13–18.92), and 24 (21–28), respectively. The ventriculostomy remained patent in 94 (91.3%) patients and closed or became obstructed in 9 (8.7%) patients during follow-up, at a median of 8.5 (6.3–10.6) months after placement of their ETV fenestration. Of note, stoma obstruction was determined by radiographic evidence of closure on high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI. Twenty-nine (28.2%) patients experienced a recurrence of their symptoms after ETV, with a median time to symptom recurrence of 3.0 (0.8–8.0) months post-ETV failure. Twenty-seven (26.2%) patients required a new procedure after their initial ETV. Twenty-one (20.4%) patients with a patent ETV on high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI and improvement after a large-volume lumbar puncture underwent placement of a shunt. Five (4.9%) patients with a failed ETV underwent a repeat ETV. One (1%) patient who required a surgical intervention post-ETV was found to have a new right ventricular cyst resulting in midline shift and worsened ventriculomegaly; this patient underwent endoscopic fenestration of the cyst and choroid plexus coagulation. The overall ETV success rate was 73.8% (n = 76), determined by clinical improvement without the need for subsequent surgical intervention. Of the 39 patients who had previously undergone shunt placement, shunt removal was performed in 13 (33.3%), with only 4 (10.3%) patients requiring replacement of their shunt after ETV and 9 (23.1%) patients becoming shunt independent. A total of 82 (79.6%) patients remained shunt independent at last follow-up.

TABLE 2.

Clinical outcomes at last follow-up in 103 patients with aqueductal stenosis

OutcomePrimary ETV (n = 64)Secondary ETV (n = 39)
Pre-ETVPost-ETVp ValuePre-ETVPost-ETVp Value
Symptoms, n (%)
 Gait impairment44 (68.8)30 (46.9)0.00420 (51.3)15 (38.5)0.182
 Cognitive decline40 (62.5)25 (39.1)0.01024 (61.5)13 (33.3)0.004
 Headaches32 (50.0)9 (14.1)<0.00128 (71.8)16 (41.0)0.003
 Urinary incontinence34 (53.1)15 (23.4)<0.0018 (20.5)4 (10.3)0.134
 Vision deficit17 (26.6)5 (7.8)0.00118 (46.2)10 (25.6)0.043
 Nausea12 (18.8)2 (3.1)0.00414 (35.9)3 (7.7)0.009
 Dizziness15 (23.4)3 (4.7)0.00612 (30.8)7 (17.9)0.267
Quantitative tests
 MMSE, median (IQR)27 (21–29)29 (27–29)0.09227 (25–29)30 (30–30)NC
 TUG, sec (IQR)13.33 (10.00–22.57)13.79 (9.25–18.92)0.2059.08 (8.13–10.04)6.93 (6.45–10.15)NC
 Tinetti, median (IQR)24 (14–27)22 (18–26)0.22928 (26–28)27.5 (26–28)NC
 Evans’ index, median (IQR)0.39 (0.37–0.40)0.38 (0.37–0.39)NC0.35 (0.34–0.35)0.27 (0.27–0.27)NC
NC = not calculable. There were not enough values available at last follow-up to accurately perform the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

A univariate analysis was performed comparing the outcomes after ETV in patients who underwent a primary (n = 64) versus secondary (n = 39) ETV, as shown in Tables 13. Based on this initial analysis, the only baseline characteristics that were significantly different between the 2 groups were age at the time of ETV (p = 0.005), whether the aqueductal stenosis was congenital or acquired (p < 0.001), preoperative headaches (p = 0.040), urinary incontinence (p = 0.002), duration of symptoms prior to ETV (p < 0.001), and preoperative Evans’ index (p = 0.046). Patients who underwent a secondary ETV also had a longer follow-up (median 20.6 months, IQR 8.5–33.3 months) compared with patients who received a primary ETV (median 12.4 months, IQR 2.2–24.8 months; p = 0.036) (Table 1).

TABLE 3.

Symptom recurrence and surgical revision rates

Outcome*All Patients (n = 103)Primary ETV (n = 64)Secondary ETV (n = 39)p Value
Post-ETV symptom recurrence29 (28.2)11 (17.2)18 (46.2)0.003
Time to symptom recurrence, mos (IQR)3 (0.8–8.0)3 (0.4–6.5)3 (1.3–22)0.428
Stoma closure after initial ETV9 (8.7)6 (9.4)3 (7.7)1.000
Time to stoma closure, mos (IQR)8.5 (6.3–10.6)9.5 (6.8–10.6)7.3 (5.9–19.5)1.000
Revision required27 (26.2)10 (15.6)17 (43.6)0.003
 New shunt post-ETV21 (20.4)7 (10.9)14 (35.9)0.005
 Repeat ETV5 (4.9)3 (4.7)2 (5.1)1.000
Time to revision, mos (IQR)7 (3.8–10.8)8 (4.5–10)6 (3–11)0.880

Except where otherwise indicated, all values are expressed as the no. of patients (%).

Significant improvement of all symptoms was achieved in the group of patients who underwent a primary ETV, and the majority of symptoms significantly improved in the group of patients who underwent a secondary ETV (Table 2). No statistically significant differences were seen between pre- and post-ETV MMSE, TUG, or Tinetti scores in either the primary or secondary ETV groups. Patients who received a secondary ETV had a higher rate of symptom recurrence (p = 0.003) and a higher rate of surgical revision (p = 0.003), particularly in regard to shunt placement post-ETV (p = 0.005) (Table 3). After correcting for potential confounders under a multivariate analysis, the rate of symptom recurrence (OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.16–11.14, p = 0.030) and need for surgical revision (OR 3.21, 95% CI 1.05–10.36, p = 0.043) remained significantly higher after secondary ETV compared with primary ETV (Table 4). The difference between groups was significant for time to symptom recurrence (p = 0.007) and approached significance for time to surgical revision (p = 0.07) in the Cox regression analysis (Fig. 3).

FIG. 3.
FIG. 3.

Kaplan-Meier plot showing time to recurrence (A) and revision (B) for patients receiving a primary versus secondary ETV. The difference between groups was significant for time to symptom recurrence (p = 0.007) and approached significance for time to surgical revision (p = 0.07) in the Cox regression analysis. Figure is available in color online only.

TABLE 4.

Univariate and multivariate analyses for symptom recurrence and surgical revision

AnalysisOR (95% CI)p Value
Symptom recurrence
 Univariate
  Age at treatment0.99 (0.97–1.02)0.545
  Etiology of aqueductal stenosis0.61 (0.24–1.65)*0.319
  Duration of symptoms prior to ETV0.97 (0.94–0.99)0.060
  Previous shunting4.13 (1.70–10.48)0.002
  Follow-up duration1.05 (1.02–1.08)<0.001
 Multivariate
  Age at treatment2.0 (0.69–5.90)0.497
  Etiology of aqueductal stenosis1.01 (0.98–1.05)*0.796
  Duration of symptoms prior to ETV0.99 (0.95–1.01)0.363
  Previous shunting3.47 (1.16–11.14)0.030
  Follow-up duration1.06 (1.02–1.09)<0.001
Surgical revision
 Univariate
  Age at treatment0.99 (0.96–1.02)0.524
  Etiology of aqueductal stenosis0.68 (0.26–1.90)*0.451
  Duration of symptoms prior to ETV0.97 (0.94–1.00)0.064
  Previous shunting4.17 (1.68–10.85)0.002
  Follow-up duration1.05 (1.02–1.08)<0.001
 Multivariate
  Age at treatment1.01 (0.97–1.04)0.593
  Etiology of aqueductal stenosis1.14 (0.28–5.01)*0.856
  Duration of symptoms prior to ETV0.98 (0.95–1.01)0.332
  Previous shunting3.21 (1.05–10.36)0.043
  Follow-up duration1.05 (1.02–1.09)0.003

OR is expressed for acquired aqueductal stenosis.

Multivariate logistic regression was performed with forward selection of significant variables on the univariate analysis.

Discussion

ETV is considered the initial treatment of choice for obstructive hydrocephalus;10,16,23 however, the efficacy of ETV in patients who have previously undergone shunt placement remains unclear.13 ETV results in low rates of permanent iatrogenic morbidity (1%–2%) and mortality (< 1%) compared with shunting and is considered to be a safe and relatively simple procedure.3,22 Because no foreign material is incorporated into the body, ETV is often preferred over ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement because it has a lower risk of infection and delayed failure compared with ventriculoperitoneal shunts, particularly as time increases after surgery.2,9,19,21,23 If shunt independence is considered an indicator of clinical success after ETV, our rate of 79.6% agrees with previous series reporting success rates ranging from 50% to 94%.3,10 Fifty-four (84.3%) of patients who underwent primary ETV in our study remained shunt free at last follow-up compared with 25 (64.1%) patients in the secondary ETV group. In contrast, Hader et al. reported an overall shunt independence rate of 81.7%, with similar rates of shunt independence between patients who underwent a primary (82.5%) versus secondary (80%) ETV.15 Clinical improvement/stability, the ultimate determinant of ETV success, was seen in 86.4% of patients in our study compared with a range of 66%–88% reported in the literature.10

Despite the symptomatic improvement observed in the majority of patients in our study, no statistically significant differences were seen between pre- and post-ETV MMSE, TUG, or Tinetti scores (Table 2). Although similar improvement should ideally be seen between patients’ symptomatology and functional outcome measures, several possibilities exist to explain the nonsignificant changes observed in our study. For example, the patients’ underlying comorbidities (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, arthritis) may have limited the degree of functional improvement achieved after ETV. Similarly, patients with minor presenting symptoms and long-standing ventriculomegaly may experience a marginal or delayed clinical improvement.10 Moreover, patients who have a longer duration of symptoms prior to treatment are much less likely to display a significant benefit in cognitive and functional outcomes compared with patients who are treated earlier. As such, the symptomatic improvement seen in our patient population may have not been substantial enough to observe a measurable improvement in cognition and/or function after ETV. In addition, the median preoperative MMSE, TUG, and Tinetti scores of 27 (22–29), 11.33 (9.17–20.28) seconds, and 25 (15–28), respectively, may have been too favorable preoperatively for patients to achieve a significant improvement in these measures during our limited follow-up period (< 2 years). This is particularly true for the patients in our secondary ETV group, with pre-ETV TUG and Tinetti scores of 9.08 (8.13–10.04) seconds and 28 (26–28), respectively, which are similar to those for the healthy, general population. Additionally, the preoperative values observed in our study were substantially better than has been observed in NPH patients who responded to shunting even following a tap test (mean TUG of 29.91 seconds and a total Tinetti score of 19.31).11 Last, TUG and Tinetti are sensitive measures of outcome in patients with NPH but may have limited utility in depicting the degree of improvement after ETV in patients with long-standing obstructive hydrocephalus from aqueductal stenosis.

Ultimately, the findings of our study suggest that prior treatment with a shunt may potentially negatively affect ETV outcomes. Although a series by Dusick et al. in 2008 failed to find any association between a history of prior shunting and outcomes after ETV,10 patients who received a secondary ETV in our study had a higher rate of symptom recurrence (46.2% vs 17.2%, p = 0.003), as well as surgical revision (43.6% vs 15.6%, p = 0.003), compared with primary ETV. Moreover, a history of shunting prior to ETV remained a significant predictor of both symptom recurrence (OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.16–11.14, p = 0.030) and need for surgical revision (OR 3.21, 95% CI 1.05–10.36, p = 0.043) under multivariate logistic regression in our study. Similarly, in a series of 63 adults who underwent ETV, Buxton et al. found that a history of 3 or more shunt revisions was a predictor of subsequent ETV failure.4 Interestingly, the 39 patients who received a secondary ETV in our study received a median of 5 (2–9) shunt revisions prior to ETV. Whereas no significant difference was observed in the complication rate between patients who received a primary versus secondary ETV in our study, Hader et al. found that major complications after ETV occurred more frequently in patients who underwent a secondary ETV (14 of 45 patients, 31%) compared with a primary ETV (7 of 86 patients, 8%) (p = 0.02).15 Further, Beems et al. found that patients who undergo a primary ETV, but require later shunt placement for ETV failure, are at a lower risk of subsequent shunt malfunction than patients who undergo shunt placement as their primary treatment.3

Whereas prior studies regarding the predictors of ETV success were limited by inadequate resolution of routine MRI sequences,6,14,18 our use of 3D constructive interference in steady state (CISS) MRI enhanced our ability to determine the exact etiology of hydrocephalus and to appropriately select a homogeneous cohort for analysis. CISS MRI is a high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI sequence that allows superior visualization of subtle anatomical information that may be missed on routine MRI, improving the evaluation of CSF flow patterns and hydrocephalus. Similarly, 3D CISS MRI aids in the postoperative evaluation of CSF flow patterns and ventriculostoma patency.1,5,7 With the use of 3D CISS MRI, we found that stoma closure occurred in 9 (8.7%) patients during follow-up, at a median of 8.5 (6.3–10.6) months after placement of their ETV fenestration, whereas the recurrence of symptoms post-ETV failure was much sooner (median 3.0 months, IQR 0.8–8.0 months) and much more frequent (8.7% vs 28.2%), despite stoma patency in the majority of patients.

The strengths of our study include a large, homogeneous cohort; use of high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI sequences; and treatment by a single surgeon at a single institution to minimize the variability in management among cases included in our study. However, several limitations of our study should be carefully considered. For example, the duration of follow-up was significantly longer (p = 0.036) for patients with secondary ETV. Prior studies, however, have shown that ETV failure typically occurs in the acute postoperative period.2,19,21 For example, the majority of ETV failures (16/23, 69.6%) in a series of 108 patients in a study by Dusick et al. occurred within 6 months and only 4/23 (17.4%) failures occurred after 12 months.10 With the rarity of delayed ETV failure, the difference in follow-up probably does not account for the higher rates of symptom recurrence and surgical revision seen in patients who underwent a secondary ETV in our study. Although follow-up duration was associated with higher rates of symptom recurrence and surgical revision in our study, a history of previous shunting still had the highest OR for predicting these rates, even after correcting for the duration of follow-up. Further, more patients who received a secondary ETV in our study had a history of congenital compared with acquired aqueductal stenosis (46.2% vs 10.9%, p < 0.001). Despite this discrepancy, prior research has shown that lower ETV success rates are expected in patients with acquired aqueductal stenosis compared with a congenital etiology,8,16 which was not seen in our study. In addition, the etiology of aqueductal stenosis was not significantly associated with the rates of symptom recurrence and surgical revision in our study.

Our findings could aid clinicians in their evaluation of the most appropriate primary treatment for patients who present with obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis and support the use of ETV as an initial treatment modality. Further, this study provides objective evidence for the need for additional research regarding the predictors of success encountered after ETV. Data from large, randomized controlled trials are needed to further guide management in this clinically challenging patient population.

Conclusions

Adult patients with obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis exhibit improvement in clinical outcomes after ETV, with a relatively low failure rate. Patients who undergo a secondary ETV compared with a primary ETV are at an increased risk of symptom recurrence and need for surgical revision post-ETV. As such, ETV should be considered the initial treatment of choice for adults who present with obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis.

Acknowledgment

Dr. Jusué-Torres has received support from a Salisbury Hydrocephalus Research Fellowship Grant and the Swenson Family Foundation. Dr. Rigamonti has received support from the Salisbury Family Foundation and the Swenson Family Foundation.

Disclaimer

Dr. Elder’s views are reflected in this article and should not be construed to represent the FDA’s views or policies.

Author Contributions

Conception and design: all authors. Acquisition of data: all authors. Analysis and interpretation of data: all authors. Drafting the article: all authors. Critically revising the article: all authors. Reviewed submitted version of manuscript: all authors. Approved the final version of the manuscript on behalf of all authors: Rigamonti. Statistical analysis: all authors. Administrative/technical/material support: all authors. Study supervision: all authors.

References

  • 1

    Aleman JJokura HHigano SAkabane AShirane RYoshimoto T: Value of constructive interference in steady-state three-dimensional, Fourier transformation magnetic resonance imaging for the neuroendoscopic treatment of hydrocephalus and intracranial cysts. Neurosurgery 48:129112962001

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2

    Aquilina KEdwards RJPople IK: Routine placement of a ventricular reservoir at endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Neurosurgery 53:91972003

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3

    Beems TGrotenhuis JA: Long-term complications and definition of failure of neuroendoscopic procedures. Childs Nerv Syst 20:8688772004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4

    Buxton NHo KJMacarthur DVloeberghs MPunt JRobertson I: Neuroendoscopic third ventriculostomy for hydrocephalus in adults: report of a single unit’s experience with 63 cases. Surg Neurol 55:74782001

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5

    Dinçer AKohan SOzek MM: Is all “communicating” hydrocephalus really communicating? Prospective study on the value of 3D-constructive interference in steady state sequence at 3T. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 30:189819062009

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6

    Dlouhy BJCapuano AWMadhavan KTorner JCGreenlee JD: Preoperative third ventricular bowing as a predictor of endoscopic third ventriculostomy success. J Neurosurg Pediatr 9:1821902012

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7

    Doll AChristmann DKehrli PAbu Eid MGillis CBogorin A: Contribution of 3D CISS MRI for pre- and post-therapeutic monitoring of obstructive hydrocephalus. J Neuroradiol 27:2182252000. (Fr)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8

    Drake JM: Ventriculostomy for treatment of hydrocephalus. Neurosurg Clin N Am 4:6576661993

  • 9

    Drake JMKestle JRMilner RCinalli GBoop FPiatt J Jr: Randomized trial of cerebrospinal fluid shunt valve design in pediatric hydrocephalus. Neurosurgery 43:2943051998

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    Dusick JRMcArthur DLBergsneider M: Success and complication rates of endoscopic third ventriculostomy for adult hydrocephalus: a series of 108 patients. Surg Neurol 69:5152008

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    Feick DSickmond JLiu LMetellus PWilliams MRigamonti D: Sensitivity and predictive value of occupational and physical therapy assessments in the functional evaluation of patients with suspected normal pressure hydrocephalus. J Rehabil Med 40:7157202008

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12

    Feng HHuang GLiao XFu KTan HPu H: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy in the management of obstructive hydrocephalus: an outcome analysis. J Neurosurg 100:6266332004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13

    Fleck SBaldauf JSchroeder HWSEndoscopic third ventriculostomy: indications, technique, outcome, and complications. Rigamonti D: Adult Hydrocephalus Cambridge, UKCambridge University Press2014

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14

    Foroughi MWong ASteinbok PSinghal ASargent MACochrane DD: Third ventricular shape: a predictor of endoscopic third ventriculostomy success in pediatric patients. J Neurosurg Pediatr 7:3893962011

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Hader WJWalker RLMyles STHamilton M: Complications of endoscopic third ventriculostomy in previously shunted patients. Neurosurgery 63:1 Suppl 1ONS168ONS1752008

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16

    Hellwig DGrotenhuis JATirakotai WRiegel TSchulte DMBauer BL: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy for obstructive hydrocephalus. Neurosurg Rev 28:1382005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17

    Iantosca MRHader WJDrake JM: Results of endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Neurosurg Clin N Am 15:67752004

  • 18

    Kehler URegelsberger JGliemroth JWestphal M: Outcome prediction of third ventriculostomy: a proposed hydrocephalus grading system. Minim Invasive Neurosurg 49:2382432006

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19

    Kulkarni AVDrake JMKestle JRMallucci CLSgouros SConstantini S: Predicting who will benefit from endoscopic third ventriculostomy compared with shunt insertion in childhood hydrocephalus using the ETV Success Score. J Neurosurg Pediatr 6:3103152010

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20

    Kulkarni AVRiva-Cambrin JBrowd SR: Use of the ETV Success Score to explain the variation in reported endoscopic third ventriculostomy success rates among published case series of childhood hydrocephalus. J Neurosurg Pediatr 7:1431462011

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21

    O’Brien DFJavadpour MCollins DRSpennato PMallucci CL: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy: an outcome analysis of primary cases and procedures performed after ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction. J Neurosurg 103:5 Suppl3934002005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22

    Schroeder HWNiendorf WRGaab MR: Complications of endoscopic third ventriculostomy. J Neurosurg 96:103210402002

  • 23

    Spennato PTazi SBekaert OCinalli GDecq P: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy for idiopathic aqueductal stenosis. World Neurosurg 79:2 SupplS21.e13S21.e202013

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24

    Yadav YRMukerji GParihar VSinha MPandey S: Complex hydrocephalus (combination of communicating and obstructive type): an important cause of failed endoscopic third ventriculostomy. BMC Res Notes 2:1372009

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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Article Information

Contributor Notes

Correspondence Daniele Rigamonti, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 N. Wolfe St., Phipps 126, Baltimore, MD 21287. email: dr@jhmi.edu.INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online October 30, 2015; DOI: 10.3171/2015.4.JNS15129.Disclosure The following sources of financial support and industry affiliations are disclosed. Dr. Goodwin is a UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Fellow and recipient of an award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Dr. Blitz received an honorarium from Siemens for an educational talk.
Headings
Figures
  • View in gallery

    Inclusion/exclusion criteria. Overall ETV success was determined by clinical improvement without the need for subsequent surgical intervention.

  • View in gallery

    Preoperative (A) high-resolution, gradient-echo MRI sagittal sequence showing a bowed ventricular floor and bulging lamina terminalis, characteristic of obstructive hydrocephalus, with subsequent resolution after primary ETV (B).

  • View in gallery

    Kaplan-Meier plot showing time to recurrence (A) and revision (B) for patients receiving a primary versus secondary ETV. The difference between groups was significant for time to symptom recurrence (p = 0.007) and approached significance for time to surgical revision (p = 0.07) in the Cox regression analysis. Figure is available in color online only.

References
  • 1

    Aleman JJokura HHigano SAkabane AShirane RYoshimoto T: Value of constructive interference in steady-state three-dimensional, Fourier transformation magnetic resonance imaging for the neuroendoscopic treatment of hydrocephalus and intracranial cysts. Neurosurgery 48:129112962001

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2

    Aquilina KEdwards RJPople IK: Routine placement of a ventricular reservoir at endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Neurosurgery 53:91972003

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3

    Beems TGrotenhuis JA: Long-term complications and definition of failure of neuroendoscopic procedures. Childs Nerv Syst 20:8688772004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4

    Buxton NHo KJMacarthur DVloeberghs MPunt JRobertson I: Neuroendoscopic third ventriculostomy for hydrocephalus in adults: report of a single unit’s experience with 63 cases. Surg Neurol 55:74782001

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5

    Dinçer AKohan SOzek MM: Is all “communicating” hydrocephalus really communicating? Prospective study on the value of 3D-constructive interference in steady state sequence at 3T. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 30:189819062009

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6

    Dlouhy BJCapuano AWMadhavan KTorner JCGreenlee JD: Preoperative third ventricular bowing as a predictor of endoscopic third ventriculostomy success. J Neurosurg Pediatr 9:1821902012

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7

    Doll AChristmann DKehrli PAbu Eid MGillis CBogorin A: Contribution of 3D CISS MRI for pre- and post-therapeutic monitoring of obstructive hydrocephalus. J Neuroradiol 27:2182252000. (Fr)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8

    Drake JM: Ventriculostomy for treatment of hydrocephalus. Neurosurg Clin N Am 4:6576661993

  • 9

    Drake JMKestle JRMilner RCinalli GBoop FPiatt J Jr: Randomized trial of cerebrospinal fluid shunt valve design in pediatric hydrocephalus. Neurosurgery 43:2943051998

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    Dusick JRMcArthur DLBergsneider M: Success and complication rates of endoscopic third ventriculostomy for adult hydrocephalus: a series of 108 patients. Surg Neurol 69:5152008

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    Feick DSickmond JLiu LMetellus PWilliams MRigamonti D: Sensitivity and predictive value of occupational and physical therapy assessments in the functional evaluation of patients with suspected normal pressure hydrocephalus. J Rehabil Med 40:7157202008

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12

    Feng HHuang GLiao XFu KTan HPu H: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy in the management of obstructive hydrocephalus: an outcome analysis. J Neurosurg 100:6266332004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13

    Fleck SBaldauf JSchroeder HWSEndoscopic third ventriculostomy: indications, technique, outcome, and complications. Rigamonti D: Adult Hydrocephalus Cambridge, UKCambridge University Press2014

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14

    Foroughi MWong ASteinbok PSinghal ASargent MACochrane DD: Third ventricular shape: a predictor of endoscopic third ventriculostomy success in pediatric patients. J Neurosurg Pediatr 7:3893962011

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Hader WJWalker RLMyles STHamilton M: Complications of endoscopic third ventriculostomy in previously shunted patients. Neurosurgery 63:1 Suppl 1ONS168ONS1752008

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16

    Hellwig DGrotenhuis JATirakotai WRiegel TSchulte DMBauer BL: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy for obstructive hydrocephalus. Neurosurg Rev 28:1382005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17

    Iantosca MRHader WJDrake JM: Results of endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Neurosurg Clin N Am 15:67752004

  • 18

    Kehler URegelsberger JGliemroth JWestphal M: Outcome prediction of third ventriculostomy: a proposed hydrocephalus grading system. Minim Invasive Neurosurg 49:2382432006

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19

    Kulkarni AVDrake JMKestle JRMallucci CLSgouros SConstantini S: Predicting who will benefit from endoscopic third ventriculostomy compared with shunt insertion in childhood hydrocephalus using the ETV Success Score. J Neurosurg Pediatr 6:3103152010

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20

    Kulkarni AVRiva-Cambrin JBrowd SR: Use of the ETV Success Score to explain the variation in reported endoscopic third ventriculostomy success rates among published case series of childhood hydrocephalus. J Neurosurg Pediatr 7:1431462011

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21

    O’Brien DFJavadpour MCollins DRSpennato PMallucci CL: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy: an outcome analysis of primary cases and procedures performed after ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction. J Neurosurg 103:5 Suppl3934002005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22

    Schroeder HWNiendorf WRGaab MR: Complications of endoscopic third ventriculostomy. J Neurosurg 96:103210402002

  • 23

    Spennato PTazi SBekaert OCinalli GDecq P: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy for idiopathic aqueductal stenosis. World Neurosurg 79:2 SupplS21.e13S21.e202013

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24

    Yadav YRMukerji GParihar VSinha MPandey S: Complex hydrocephalus (combination of communicating and obstructive type): an important cause of failed endoscopic third ventriculostomy. BMC Res Notes 2:1372009

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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