• Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

    The mission of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network is to dramatically improve the lives of kids suffering from hydrocephalus by conducting important and field-changing, multi-center clinical research.

    Each year an estimated 10,000 people in the US and Canada will be diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a life-threatening and debilitating condition for which there is no cure.

    Many of these people are children. Left untreated, hydrocephalus can cause permanent brain damage, disability, and death. Most experts agree hydrocephalus occurs when the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a natural fluid produced inside the brain, somehow gets restricted. This restriction results in increased pressure on a patient’s brain tissue.

  • The HCRN Blog

    HCRN Publishes Retrospective Study Of ETV/CPC Procedure

    In this study, the HCRN conducted the first North American multi-center assessment of the outcome of a new procedure for hydrocephalus: ETV-CPC (endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization). ETV alone has been used for over 20 years to treat some types of hydrocephalus, but the results in infants have been disappointing with a high failure rate. More recently, based on work in Uganda by Dr. Ben Warf, the addition of CPC to ETV resulted in a higher than expected success rate in infants. ETV-CPC, therefore, is generating a lot of interest for its potential to treat infant hydrocephalus in North America. With our latest study, we showed that the procedure can be performed safely by our HCRN surgeons. The failure rate appeared to be slightly higher than shunt, overall, but we also discovered that there was a learning curve to this procedure: the cases we performed more recently seemed to have a higher success rate. Based on this study, a number of HCRN surgeons have gone to Uganda to receive formal training in ETV-CPC. We are now starting a prospective study to examine, in even more detail, the outcomes and complications of this exciting new procedure. While ETV-CPC holds a lot of promise, it is imperative that it be studied carefully to identify its optimal role in hydrocephalus treatment. The HCRN is committed to caring this out in our usual systematic, scientific manner.

    The article has been offered in full in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics in September 2014.

    HCRN PI’s offer point and counterpoint of shunting and ETV/CPC

    HCRN Chairman John Kestle and HCRN investigator Jay Riva-Cambrin were published in AANS Neurosurgeon this month in counterbalancing articles about changes in treatment of hydrocephalus and the impact of new procedures going forward. Dr. Riva-Cambrin discusses his observations in nuances of the treatment of hydrocephalus since he was trained as a neurosurgeon in the late 1990s. He highlights the re-emergence of the endoscopic third ventriculostomy with the addition of choroid plexus coagulation and the potential for changing the default treatment of hydrocephalus with a shunt. Dr. Kestle’s article provides the counterpoint that despite these innovations, shunts are the “workhorse” of hydrocephalus treatment and we must continue to improve the outcomes for patients treated with a shunt. Both of these articles make for interesting reading about the evolution of hydrocephalus treatment.