Is it possible to minimize overdrainage complications with gravitational units in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus? Protocol of the randomized controlled SVASONA Trial (ISRCTN51046698)

Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2010;106:113-5. doi: 10.1007/978-3-211-98811-4_19.


Overdrainage is a common complication observed after shunting patients with idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH), with an estimated incidence up to 25%. Gravitational units that counterbalance intracranial pressure changes were developed to overcome this problem. We will set out to investigate whether the combination of a programmable valve and a gravitational unit (proGAV, Aesculap/Miethke, Germany) is capable of reducing the incidence of overdrainage and improving patient-centered outcomes compared to a conventional programmable valve (Medos-Codman, Johnson & Johnson, Germany). SVASONA is a pragmatic randomized controlled trial conducted at seven centers in Germany. Patients with a high probability of iNPH (based on clinical signs and symptoms, lumbar infusion and/or tap test, cranial computed tomography [CCT]) and no contraindications for surgical drainage will randomly be assigned to receive (1) a shunt assistant valve (proGAV) or (2) a conventional, programmable shunt valve (programmable Medos-Codman).We will test the primary hypothesis that the experimental device reduces the rate of overdrainage from 25% to 10%. As secondary analyses, we will measure iNPH-specific outcomes (i.e., the Black grading scale and the NPH Recovery Rate), generic quality of life (Short Form 36), and complications and serious adverse events (SAE). One planned interim analysis for safety and efficacy will be performed halfway through the study. To detect the hypothesized difference in the incidence of overdrainage with a type I error of 5% and a type II error of 20%, correcting for multiple testing and an anticipated dropout rate of 10%, 200 patients will be enrolled.The presented trial is currently recruiting patients, with the first results predicted to be available in late 2008.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gravitation
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / surgery*
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Research Design
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt / adverse effects*

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN51046698