Palliative stereotactic-endoscopic third ventriculostomy for the treatment of obstructive hydrocephalus from cerebral metastasis

Surg Neurol Int. 2011:2:76. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.82083. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


Background: Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is increasingly used in the treatment of obstructive hydrocephalus. The literature supporting its use in the setting of metastatic disease, however, remains limited.

Methods: Between 2005 and 2010, 16 patients underwent ETV for treatment of obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to cerebral metastasis. Efficacy of symptomatic palliation and associated complications were reviewed. The results were compared to reported data for ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement in adult brain tumor patients. Patient selection criteria for ETV are reviewed.

Results: Eleven of the 16 patients experienced symptomatic improvement after ETV (69%). Patients who presented with headache associated with nausea, vomiting, or lethargy were more likely to respond to treatment relative to patients presenting with headache alone. Of the 16 ETV patients, one suffered a wound infection and another underwent external ventricular drainage for assessment of intracranial pressure, yielding an overall complication rate of 12.5%.

Conclusions: In select patients with obstructive hydrocephalus related to cerebral metastasis, ETV constitutes a minimally invasive palliative option. The efficacy of ETV in this population is comparable to those reported for obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to primary cerebral neoplasm or other non-neoplastic causes. Patients receiving chemotherapy close to the time of ETV may be at increased risk for infection.

Keywords: Cerebral metastasis; endoscopic third ventriculostomy; palliation.