Markedly Improved Success Rate of Endoscopically Assisted Third Ventriculostomy Is Achieved by Routine Placement of External Lumbar Drain
Hydrocephalus is a major cause of patient decreased quality of life and high health care financial burden in the United States and throughout the world. The placement of ventricular shunts (ventriculoperitoneal shunt) has proven to be a safe treatment for hydrocephalus, but it is associated with a high complication rate leading to a lower quality of life and continued financial burden for patients, their families, and society as a whole. The endoscopically assisted third ventriculostomy (ETV) has been practiced as an alternative to ventricular shunting since the 1990s. Success rates vary widely and there are many factors which contribute to the varying success rates. The ETV procedure has the potential to alleviate much of the overall quality of life issues and some of the financial burdens associated with hydrocephalus provided success rates can be increased and the procedure and management techniques are adopted more widely. Common techniques have been published in the past which report associated improvements in success rates amongst individual surgeons. Here, we report a novel perioperative technique and management strategy that displays a higher than reported success rate. Our methods and results show potential to significantly improve overall ETV success rates if reproduced and subsequently adopted widely. We retrospectively studied records of 24 adult patients with hydrocephalus who were treated with an ETV procedure. Routinely, we placed an external lumbar drain postoperatively which was continued for a minimum of 2 days. There was a 95.8% success rate at 30 days. The overall success rate was 83.3%. This is significantly higher than the average of the predicted success scores calculated by the ETV success scoring system (71.8%). It is also significantly higher than previous studies' reported ETV success rates in adults. We propose additional similar studies to be performed to test the reproducibility of increased success rates using our technique, ideally through a prospective, randomized, multicenter trial.