Document Type



Neurosurgery; Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Background: Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt insertion remains the mainstay of treatment for hydrocephalus despite a high rate of complications. The predictors of shunt malfunction have been studied mostly in pediatric patients. In this study, we report our 11-year experience with VP shunts in adult patients with hydrocephalus. We also assess the various factors affecting shunt survival in a developing country setting.
Methods: A retrospective chart analysis was conducted for all adult patients who had undergone shunt placement between the years 2001 and 2011. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to determine the duration from shunt placement to first malfunction and log-rank (Cox-Mantel) tests were used to determine the factors affecting shunt survival.
Results: A total of 227 patients aged 18-85 years (mean: 45.8 years) were included in the study. The top four etiologies of hydrocephalus included post-cranial surgery (23.3%), brain tumor or cyst (22.9%), normal pressure hydrocephalus (15%), and intracranial hemorrhage (13.7%). The overall incidence of shunt malfunction was 15.4% with the median time to first shunt failure being 120 days. Etiology of hydrocephalus (P = 0.030) had a significant association with the development of shunt malfunction. Early shunt failure was associated with age (P < 0.001), duration of hospital stay (P < 0.001), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score less than 13 (P = 0.010), excision of brain tumors (P = 0.008), and placement of extra-ventricular drains (P = 0.033).
Conclusions: Patients with increased age, prolonged hospital stay, GCS score of less than 13, extra-ventricular drains in situ, or excision of brain tumors were more likely to experience early shunt malfunction.


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Surgical Neurology International

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.