Exploration of clinical predictors of the degree of ventricular catheter obstruction: a multicenter retrospective study

Prashant Hariharan, Jacob Gluski, Jeffrey Sondheimer, Alexandra Petroj, Andrew Jea, William E. Whitehead, Marc R. Del Bigio, Neena I. Marupudi, James P. McAllister, David D. Limbrick, Brandon G. Rocque, Carolyn A. Harris

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OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to explore how clinical factors, including the number of lifetime revision surgeries and the duration of implantation, affect the degree of obstruction and failure rates of ventricular catheters (VCs) used to manage hydrocephalus. METHODS A total of 343 VCs and their associated clinical data, including patient demographics, medical history, and surgical details, were collected from 5 centers and used for this analysis. Each VC was classified by the degree of obstruction after macroscopic analysis. Univariate, multivariate, and binned analyses were conducted to test for associations between clinical data and degree of VC obstruction. RESULTS VCs from patients with 0 to 2 lifetime revisions had a larger proportion of VC holes obstructed than VCs from patients with 10 or more revisions (p = 0.0484). VCs implanted for less than 3 months had fewer obstructed holes with protruding tissue aggregates than VCs implanted for 13 months or longer (p = 0.0225). Neither duration of implantation nor the number of lifetime revisions was a significant predictor of the degree of VC obstruction in the regression models. In the multinomial regression model, contact of the VCs with the ventricular wall robustly predicted the overall obstruction status of a VC (p = 0.005). In the mixed-effects model, the age of the patient at their first surgery emerged as a significant predictor of obstruction by protruding tissue aggregates (p = 0.002). VCs implanted through the parietal entry site were associated with more holes with nonobstructive growth and fewer empty holes than VCs implanted via other approaches (p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS The number of lifetime revisions and duration of implantation are correlated with the degree of VC obstruction but do not predict it. Contact of the VC with the ventricular wall and the age of the patient at their first surgery are predictors of the degree of VC obstruction, while the entry site of the VC correlates with it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-454
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • biobank
  • hydrocephalus
  • multicenter
  • retrospective cohort
  • shunt failure
  • ventriculoperitoneal shunt


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