Title

Postoperative hydrocephalus in patients undergoing decompressive hemicraniectomy for ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.

Department

Neurosurgery

Document Type

Article

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: We have frequently observed the development of postoperative communicating hydrocephalus in patients undergoing decompressive hemicraniectomy. This condition may persist in some patients after cranioplasty and require permanent cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion. To confirm an independent correlation between hemicraniectomy and the development of communicating hydrocephalus, and to detail the frequency and potential clinical factors contributing to this complication, we evaluated our series of patients undergoing hemicraniectomy for life-threatening increases in intracranial pressure secondary to ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed with a cohort of consecutive patients who underwent emergent hemicraniectomy for medically refractory elevations in intracranial pressure. Patients with known independent risk factors for the development of communicating hydrocephalus were excluded. Clinical and imaging data were reviewed to determine the incidence and type of hydrocephalus after hemicraniectomy, the persistence of hydrocephalus after cranioplasty, and the need for permanent CSF diversion.

RESULTS: Eighty-eight percent of the eligible patients undergoing hemicraniectomy in our cohort developed postoperative communicating hydrocephalus. Half of these patients harbored persistent hydrocephalus after cranioplasty and required placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. We noted a strong correlation between prolonged time to replacement of the bone flap and persistence of hydrocephalus.

CONCLUSION: Communicating hydrocephalus is an almost universal finding in patients after hemicraniectomy. Delayed time to cranioplasty is linked with the development of persistent hydrocephalus, necessitating permanent CSF diversion in some patients. We propose that early cranioplasty, when possible, may restore normal intracranial pressure dynamics and prevent the need for permanent CSF diversion in patients after hemicraniectomy.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Aged; Brain Ischemia; Cerebral Hemorrhage; Cohort Studies; Decompression, Surgical; Female; Humans; Hydrocephalus; Male; Middle Aged; Postoperative Complications; Radiography; Retrospective Studies; Stroke

Publication Date

9-1-2007

Publication Title

Neurosurgery

ISSN

1524-4040

Volume

61

Issue

3

First Page

489

Last Page

493

PubMed ID

17881960

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1227/01.NEU.0000290894.85072.37

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