Development of the Spitz—Holter valve in Philadelphia

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  • 1 Division of Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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✓ The history of the treatment for hydrocephalus dates back to the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago. Despite three millennia of management, significant advances in the surgical treatment of the disease have been infrequent. During the 1950s, a milestone occurred at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, with the successful development of the first working shunt valve for the treatment of hydrocephalus. In this historical vignette, based on recent interviews with John Holter, D.Sc. (Hon) and Eugene Spitz, M.D., and on a review of the available literature, the authors narrate the exciting story of the development of the Spitz-Holter valve, which took place in Philadelphia during the early 1950s.

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JNS + Pediatrics + Spine - 1 year subscription bundle (Individuals Only)

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: John A. Boockvar, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, 5 Silverstein Pavilion, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104. email: boockvar@hotmail.com.
  • 1.

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  • 2.

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  • 3.

    Keen J: Casey Holter and the Spitz-Holter valve. Eur J Pediatr Surg 2 (Suppl 1):56, 1992 Keen J: Casey Holter and the Spitz-Holter valve. Eur J Pediatr Surg 2 (Suppl 1):5–6, 1992

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  • 4.

    McCullough DC: History of the treatment of hydrocephalus, in Scott RM (ed): Hydrocephalus. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1990, pp 115 McCullough DC: History of the treatment of hydrocephalus, in Scott RM (ed): Hydrocephalus. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1990, pp 1–15

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  • 5.

    Nulsen FE, & Spitz EB: Treatment of hydrocephalus by direct shunt from ventricle to jugular vein. Surg Forum 2:399402, 1952 Nulsen FE, Spitz EB: Treatment of hydrocephalus by direct shunt from ventricle to jugular vein. Surg Forum 2:399–402, 1952

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  • 6.

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  • 7.

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  • 8.

    Spitz EB: Neurosurgery in the prevention of exogenous mental retardation. Pediatr Clin North Am 6:12151235, 1952 Spitz EB: Neurosurgery in the prevention of exogenous mental retardation. Pediatr Clin North Am 6:1215–1235, 1952

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  • 9.

    Wallman LJ: Shunting for hydrocephalus: an oral history. Neurosurgery 11:308313, 1982 Wallman LJ: Shunting for hydrocephalus: an oral history. Neurosurgery 11:308–313, 1982

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