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Fluids Barriers CNS. 2012 Aug 27;9(1):18. doi: 10.1186/2045-8118-9-18.

Pediatric hydrocephalus outcomes: a review.

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1
Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Lille University Hospital, Lille, France. matthieu.vinchon@chru-lille.fr.

Abstract

The outcome of pediatric hydrocephalus, including surgical complications, neurological sequelae and academic achievement, has been the matter of many studies. However, much uncertainty remains, regarding the very long-term and social outcome, and the determinants of complications and clinical outcome. In this paper, we review the different facets of outcome, including surgical outcome (shunt failure, infection and independence, and complications of endoscopy), clinical outcome (neurological, sensory, cognitive sequels, epilepsy), schooling and social integration. We then provide a brief review of the English-language literature and highlighting selected studies that provide information on the outcome and sequelae of pediatric hydrocephalus, and the impact of predictive variables on outcome. Mortality caused by hydrocephalus and its treatments is between 0 and 3%, depending on the duration of follow-up. Shunt event-free survival (EFS) is about 70% at one year and 40% at ten years. The EFS after endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) appears better but likely benefits from selection bias and long-term figures are not available. Shunt infection affects between 5 and 8% of surgeries, and 15 to 30% of patients according to the duration of follow-up. Shunt independence can be achieved in 3 to 9% of patients, but the definition of this varies. Broad variations in the prevalence of cognitive sequelae, affecting 12 to 50% of children, and difficulties at school, affecting between 20 and 60%, attest of disparities among studies in their clinical evaluation. Epilepsy, affecting 6 to 30% of patients, has a serious impact on outcome. In adulthood, social integration is poor in a substantial number of patients but data are sparse. Few controlled prospective studies exist regarding hydrocephalus outcomes; in their absence, largely retrospective studies must be used to evaluate the long-term consequences of hydrocephalus and its treatments. This review aims to help to establish the current state of knowledge and to identify conflicting data and unanswered questions, in order to direct future studies.

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