BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma patients can develop hydrocephalus, either obstructive, typically at diagnosis as a result of mass effect, or communicating, usually later in the disease.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize the indications and efficacy of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting for patients with glioblastoma-associated hydrocephalus.
METHODS: Retrospective review was conducted of 841 glioblastoma patients diagnosed from 2004 to 2014, 64 (8%) of whom underwent VP shunting for symptomatic hydrocephalus, to analyze symptoms and outcomes after shunting. Overall survival and postshunt survival were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier methods, with predictors evaluated by use of Cox proportional hazards.
RESULTS: Of the 64 patients who underwent shunting, 42 (66%) had communicating hydrocephalus (CH) and 22 (34%) had obstructive hydrocephalus (OH). CH patients underwent more preshunt craniotomies than those with noncommunicating hydrocephalus, with a mean of 2.3 and 0.7 surgeries, respectively (P < .001). Ventricular entry during craniotomy occurred in 52% of CH patients vs 59% of those with OH (P = .8). After shunting, 61% of all patients achieved symptomatic improvement, which was not associated with hydrocephalus variant (P > .99). Hydrocephalus symptom improvement rates were as follows: headache, 77%; lethargy, 61%; and altered cognition or memory, 54%. Symptomatic improvement was more likely in patients who were younger at shunt placement (hazard ratio, 0.96; P = .045). Symptomatic improvement, shorter time between glioblastoma diagnosis and shunt placement, and CH rather than OH led to improved postshunt survival (hazard ratio = 0.24-0.99; P = .01-.04).
CONCLUSION: VP shunting improves symptoms in most glioblastoma patients with suspected CH or OH, specifically younger patients. Symptomatic improvement, shorter duration between glioblastoma diagnosis and shunt placement, and CH rather than OH improve postshunt survival.
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