Post-haemorrhagic hydrocephalus is associated with poorer surgical and neurodevelopmental sequelae than other causes of infant hydrocephalus.
PURPOSE: This retrospective cohort study aimed to investigate the surgical and neurodevelopmental outcomes (NDO) of infant hydrocephalus. We also sought to determine whether these outcomes are disproportionately poorer in post-haemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH) compared to other causes of infant hydrocephalus. METHODS: A review of all infants with hydrocephalus who had ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts inserted at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) from 2008 to 2018 was performed. Demographic, surgical, neurodevelopmental, and other clinical data extracted from electronic patient notes were analysed by aetiology. Shunt survival, NDO, cerebral palsy (CP), epilepsy, speech delay, education, behavioural disorders, endocrine dysfunction, and mortality were evaluated. RESULTS: A total of 323 infants with median gestational age of 37.0 (23.29-42.14) weeks and birthweight of 2640 g (525-4684 g) were evaluated. PHH was the most common aetiology (31.9%) and was associated with significantly higher 5-year shunt revision rates, revisions beyond a year, and median number of revisions than congenital or "other" hydrocephalus (all p < 0.02). Cox regression demonstrated poorest shunt survival in PHH, related to gestational age at birth and corrected age at shunt insertion. PHH also had the highest rate of severe disabilities, increasing with age to 65.0% at 10 years, as well as the highest CP rate; only genetic hydrocephalus had significantly higher endocrine dysfunction (p = 0.01) and mortality rates (p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Infants with PHH have poorer surgical and NDO compared to all other aetiologies, except genetic hydrocephalus. Research into measures of reducing neurodisability following PHH is urgently required. Long-term follow-up is essential to optimise support and outcomes.