Two of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network’s recent research publications were highlighted by the International Society for Hydrocephalus and Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders in its quarterly newsletter. The first article, authored by HCRN Chairman Dr. John Kestle, updates HCRN’s work on reducing post surgical shunt infections through the implementation of a revised surgical protocol. The Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics published “A new Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network protocol to reduce cerebrospinal fluid shunt infection” in December 2015 online. The new quality improvement protocol revised the original 11 step protocol and added antibiotic impregnated catheters (AICs). The infection rate for the new protocol was not significantly changed by the addition of the AICs and remained at 6%.
The second article, authored by Dr. Jay Riva-Cambrin, was also published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics in December 2015 was entitled “Risk factors for shunt malfunction in pediatric hydrocephalus: a multicenter prospective cohort study.” The study aimed to identify risk factors for shunt failure (malfunction or infection) in the pediatric hydrocephalus population. Three factors were independently associated with a higher risk of shunt failure:
- Age less than six months (age at shunt insertion)
- Presence of a cardiac comorbidity (heart and great vessel malformations, cardiomyopathies, and conduction disorders and dysrhythmias)
- Use of an endoscope (medical device consisting of a long, thin tube with a list and video camera attached)
Etiology of the hydrocephalus was found not to be a risk factor.