Objectives: The aim of the study was to analyse the effectiveness and usefulness of treatment of hydrocephalus by Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy (ETV). We sought to relate rates of failure to the cause of hydrocephalus, distinguishing between early and late outcome.
Patients and methods: Between September 1999 and April 2001, 30 patients underwent ETV. In 23 patients hydrocephalus was caused by an expansive mass (tumour). Three groups of patients were distinguished, according to the different aims of ETV. Thus in group T--ETV was carried out to eliminate hydrocephalus prior to the main surgery (53%), in C--ETV was the definite treatment of choice (30%), and in group P--ETV was a palliative treatment (17%). The results were assessed in the early postoperative period and in long term follow-up using clinical relief of symptoms, and radiological criteria (pre- and postoperative computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance scans).
Results: In the early postoperative period ETV was rated to be effective by clinical criteria in 29 patients, and by radiological criteria in 27. According to late assessment the method was successful in 25 patients using clinical criteria, and in 21 using radiological criteria. There was no peri-operative mortality. A transient complication (wound CSF leak) occurred in two patients.
Conclusions: ETV is effective in well chosen patients in relieving symptoms of hydrocephalus. It is valuable before a definitive major operation to remove the cause of hydrocephalus, as a palliative treatment, and in itself as a method of definitive management when indications are correct.