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Childs Nerv Syst. 2012 Mar;28(3):469-73. doi: 10.1007/s00381-011-1664-x. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

Low-pressure valves in hydrocephalic children: a retrospective analysis.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



A series of 100 children under 2 years of age treated for hydrocephalus is described. All patients received a standard differential low-pressure (SD low) valve as the first cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt treatment. The performance of this group during follow-up is analysed.


A retrospective cohort study was performed using the intern electronic health record from our hospital. Children younger than 2 years who underwent initial CSF shunt treatment with a SD low valve between 1998 and 2008 were eligible.


Mean follow-up was 7 years. The majority of 81% (81 of 100) of the children did not receive an upgrade of pressure profile throughout follow-up. The first revision was done after a mean of 456 days (median, 64 days; min, 3; and max, 4,183). The 1-year survival rate of the CSF shunt in this cohort was 42%. In the relatively large group of myelomeningocele patients (37 of 100), only one patient developed symptomatic overdrainage. A total of 9% (9 of 100) of the children presented with symptoms of overdrainage. In 3% (3 out of 100) of these children, symptoms of overdrainage persisted, in spite of multiple valve mutations. During the total follow-up, 26% (26 of 100) of the patients had never received shunt revision surgery. Fifteen percent (15 of 100) of the children developed a shunt infection within the first year.


The use of SD low valves in the youngest age group is effective in the majority of children. The aetiology of myelomeningocele appears to protect the patient from symptomatic overdrainage.

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