Ventricular reservoir versus ventriculosubgaleal shunt for posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in preterm infants: Infection risks and ventriculoperitoneal shunt rate

Joanna Y. Wang, Anubhav G. Amin, George I. Jallo, Edward S. Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Object. The most common neurosurgical condition observed in preterm infants is intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), which often results in posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH). These conditions portend an unfavorable prognosis; therefore, the potential for poor neurodevelopmental outcomes necessitates a better understanding of the comparative effectiveness of 2 temporary devices commonly used before the permanent insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt: the ventricular reservoir and the ventriculosubgaleal shunt (VSGS). Methods. The authors analyzed retrospectively collected information for 90 patients with IVH and PHH who were treated with insertion of a ventricular reservoir (n = 44) or VSGS (n = 46) at their institution over a 14-year period. Results. The mean gestational age and weight at device insertion were lower for VSGS patients (30.1 ± 1.9 weeks, 1.12 ± 0.31 kg) than for reservoir patients (31.8 ± 2.9 weeks, 1.33 ± 0.37 kg; p = 0.002 and p = 0.004, respectively). Ventricular reservoir insertion was predictive of more CSF taps prior to VP shunt placement compared with VSGS placement (10 ± 8.7 taps vs 1.6 ± 1.7 taps, p < 0.001). VSGS patients experienced a longer time interval prior to VP shunt placement than reservoir patients (80.8 ± 67.5 days vs 48.8 ± 26.4 days, p = 0.012), which corresponded to VSGS patients gaining more weight by the time of shunt placement than reservoir patients (3.31 ± 2.0 kg vs 2.42 ± 0.63 kg, p = 0.016). Reservoir patients demonstrated a trend toward more positive CSF cultures compared with VSGS patients (n = 9 [20.5%] vs n = 5 [10.9%], p = 0.21). There were no significant differences in the rates of overt device infection requiring removal (reservoir, 6.8%; VSGS, 6.5%), VP shunt insertion (reservoir, 77.3%; VSGS, 76.1%), or early VP shunt infection (reservoir, 11.4%; VSGS, 13.0%) between the 2 cohorts. Conclusions. Although the rates of VP shunt requirement and device infection were similar between patients treated with the reservoir versus the VSGS, VSGS patients were significantly older and had achieved greater weights at the time of VP shunt insertion. The authors' results suggest that the VSGS requires less labor-intensive management by ventricular tapping; the VSGS patients also attained higher weights and more optimal surgical candidacy at the time of VP shunt insertion. The potential differences in long-term developmental and neurological outcomes between VSGS and reservoir placement warrant further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-454
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Intraventricular hemorrhage
  • Posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus
  • Ventricular reservoir
  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt
  • Ventriculosubgaleal shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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