The effect and evolution of patient selection on outcomes in endoscopic third ventriculostomy for hydrocephalus: A large-scale review of the literature

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Madsen, Peter J, Arka N Mallela, Eric D Hudgins, Phillip B Storm, Gregory G Heuer, and Sherman C Stein


Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has become a popular technique for the treatment of hydrocephalus, but small sample size has limited the generalizability of prior studies. We performed a large-scale review of all available studies to help eliminate bias and determine how outcomes have changed and been influenced by patient selection over time. A systematic literature search was performed for studies of ETV that contained original, extractable patient data, and a meta-analytic model was generated for correlative and predictive analysis. A total of 130 studies were identified, which included 11,952 cases. Brain tumor or cyst was the most common hydrocephalus etiology, but high-risk etiologies, post-infectious or post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus, accounted for 18.4%. Post-operative mortality was very low (0.2%) and morbidity was only slightly higher in developing than in industrialized countries. The rate of ETV failure was 34.7% and was higher in the first months and plateaued around 20months. As anticipated, ETV is less successful in high-risk etiologies of hydrocephalus and younger patients. Younger patient age and high-risk etiologies predicted failure. ETVs were performed more often in high-risk etiologies over time, but, surprisingly, there was no overall change in ETV success rate over time. This study should help to influence optimal patient selection and offer guidance in predicting outcomes.