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J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2013 Jan;11(1):37-42. doi: 10.3171/2012.8.PEDS11296. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus and shunts: what are the predictors of multiple revision surgeries?

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Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA 71130, USA.



Cerebrospinal fluid shunts in patients with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus are prone to failure, with some patients at risk for multiple failures. The objective of this study was to identify factors leading to multiple failures.


The authors performed a retrospective analysis of cases of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus requiring neurosurgical intervention between 1982 and 2010.


In the 109 cases analyzed, 54% of the patients were male, their mean birth weight was 1223 g, and their mean head circumference 25.75 cm. The mean duration of follow-up was 6 years, and 9 patients died. Grade III intraventricular hemorrhage was seen in 47.7% and Grade IV in 43.1%. Initial use of a ventricular access device was needed in 65 patients (59.6%), but permanent CSF shunting was needed in 104 (95.4%). A total of 454 surgical procedures were performed, including 304 shunt revisions in 78 patients (71.6%). Detailed surgical notes were available for 261 of these procedures, and of these, 51% were proximal revisions, 13% distal revisions, and 17% total shunt revisions. Revision rates were not affected by catheter type, patient sex, presence of congenital anomalies, or type of hydrocephalus. Age of less than 30 days at the initial procedure was associated with decreased survival of the first shunt. Regression analysis revealed that lower estimated gestational age (EGA) and obstructive hydrocephalus were significant predictors of multiple shunt revisions.


We found a high rate of need for permanent CSF shunts (95.4%) in patients with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus. Shunt revision was required in 71.6% of patients, with those with lower birth weight and EGA at a higher risk for revisions.

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