BACKGROUND: With the need for transparency of surgical results, 30-day outcome measures have become increasingly important. Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt failure is a substantial burden to patients and health care systems.
OBJECTIVE: This study introduces the 30-day VP shunt failure rate as a possible barometer of surgical outcome and demonstrates its use in a national (United Kingdom [UK]) study and makes comparison with 2 published randomized, controlled trials (RCT).
METHODS: A cohort study of all (except 1) pediatric neurosurgical centers in the UK and Ireland. All new and revision VP shunt operations were recorded for 2008 and 2009. Both newly placed and revised VP shunts were subject to Kaplan-Meier analysis, and 30-day failure rate was obtained. Data from 2 RCTs investigating new VP shunt technology were analyzed, and the 30-day failure rate was extracted for comparative purposes.
RESULTS: The overall 30-day and 1-year failure rates for new shunts were 12.9% and 28.8%, respectively. The 30-day failure rate from 2 RCTs was comparable (14% and 16%, respectively). The failure rate of the subsequent revision of those new shunts was 20.7% at 30 days and 40.4% at 1 year. According to these data, shunt survival appears to be better if performed by a consultant pediatric neurosurgeon for revision surgery only.
CONCLUSION: VP shunt survival in the UK is comparable to the published multicenter data investigating shunt survival. The 30-day failure rate may represent a better barometer of surgical outcome and should be used as a separate outcome measure in the design of future trials.
ABBREVIATIONS: CI, confidence interval
RCT, randomized controlled trial
UK, United Kingdom
VP, ventriculoperitoneal shunt