Intracranial pressure monitoring and lumbar puncture after endoscopic third ventriculostomy in children

Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Santobono Children's Hospital, Naples, Italy.
Neurosurgery (Impact Factor: 3.62). 01/2006; 58(1):126-36; discussion 126-36.
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study is to analyze changes in intracranial pressure (ICP) after endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) performed in children affected by noncommunicating hydrocephalus.
ICP was continuously recorded for an average of 7 days in 64 children who underwent 68 ETVs for obstructive triventricular hydrocephalus of various etiology. In the first group (44 children), ETV was performed as the primary treatment; in the second group (20 children), the patients presented with shunt malfunction and underwent ETV and shunt removal. Three of the patients in the second group were reoperated for obstruction of the stoma: two were reoperated once and one was reoperated twice.
ICP changes after ETV were not homogeneous and varied according to etiology: the highest values were observed in patients affected by posterior fossa tumors and the lowest values were seen in patients operated on during shunt malfunction and who had their shunt removed. After 31 procedures (45.6%), ICP remained normal (< 20 mmHg) for the entire duration of the monitoring. After 37 procedures (54.5%), ICP was persistently high on Day 1 (mean, 29.7) and decreased very slowly in the subsequent days, remaining high for 2-9 days (mean, 4.5). After 20 of the 37 procedures with high postoperative ICP, patients presented symptoms of intracranial hypertension that resolved, in most of the cases, with one or two lumbar punctures. Lumbar puncture was noted to be effective in bringing about fast normalization of the ICP and resolution of the symptoms. In 13 patients (19.1%), ETV failed and a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was implanted. After four procedures, the stoma obstructed and the patients were treated, reopening the stoma. Postoperative ICP was not statistically significant higher in the patients in whom ETV failed.
The high ICP observed in a group of patients in the early postoperative days is probably related to the slow permeation of the subarachnoid spaces by the cerebrospinal fluid flowing out of the third ventriculostomy. Management of intracranial hypertension after ETV remains a matter of controversy. The role of the lumbar puncture in the faster normalization of the ICP is examined in this article. By increasing the compliance and the buffering capacities of the spinal subarachnoid spaces, it probably decreases the cerebrospinal fluid outflow resistance from the ventricular system, facilitating the decrease of the ventricular volume and allowing faster permeation of the intracranial subarachnoid spaces. High postoperative ICP can account for persistent symptoms of intracranial hypertension and ventricular dilatation on computed tomographic scans after third ventriculostomy. A cycle of one to three lumbar punctures should always be performed in patients who remain symptomatic and who show increasing ventricular dilatation after ETV, before ETV is assumed to have failed and an extracranial cerebrospinal fluid shunt is implanted.

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