Neurosurgical treatment of progressive posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation in preterm infants: A 10-year single-institution study

David D. Limbrick, Amit Mathur, James M. Johnston, Rebecca Munro, James Sagar, Terrie Inder, Tae Sung Park, Jeffrey L. Leonard, Matthew D. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Object. Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and progressive posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation (PPHVD) may result in significant neurological morbidity in preterm infants. At present, there is no consensus regarding the optimal timing or type of neurosurgical procedure to best treat PPHVD. Conflicting data exist regarding the relative risks and benefits of two commonly used temporizing neurosurgical procedures (TNPs), ventricular access devices ([VADs] or ventricular reservoirs) versus ventriculosubgaleal (VSG) shunts. This study was designed to address this issue. Methods. This is a single-center, 10-year retrospective review of all preterm infants admitted to the St. Louis Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with Papile Grade III-IV IVH. The development of PPHVD and the requirement for and type of TNP were recorded. Rates of TNP complication, ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt implantation, shunt infection, and mortality rates were used to compare the efficacy and limitations of each TNP type. Results. Over this 10-year interval, 325 preterm infants with Grade III-IV IVH were identified, with trends showing an increasing number of affected infants annually, and an increasing number of TNPs were required annually. Ninety-five (29.2%) of the 325 infants underwent a TNP for PPHVD (65 VADs, 30 VSG shunts). The rate of permanent VP shunt implantation for all TNPs was 72.6% (69 of 95 infants). Forty-nine (75.4%) of the 65 infants treated with VADs and 20 (66.7%) of the 30 treated with VSG shunts required VP shunts (p = 0.38). There was no statistical difference between VAD or VSG shunt with regard to TNP-related infection (p = 0.57), need for TNP revision (p = 0.16), subsequent shunt infection (p = 0.77), shunt revision rate (p = 0.58), or mortality rate (p = 0.24). Conclusions. Rates of IVH and PPHVD observed at the authors' center have increased over time. In contrast to recent literature, the results from the current study did not demonstrate a difference in complication rate or requirement for permanent VP shunt placement between VADs and VSG shunts. Definitive conclusions will require a larger, prospective trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrocephalus
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage
  • Preterm infant
  • Subgaleal shunt
  • Ventricular reservoir
  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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