Ventriculoperitoneal shunting in childhood tuberculous meningitis

Lamprecht D. ; Schoeman J. ; Donald P. ; Hartzenberg H. (2001)

Article

Hydrocephalus is a common complication of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) in children. In this study, 217 patients with stage II and III TBM and hydrocephalus (TBMH) were reviewed. Ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS) was performed in the acute stage if the hydrocephalus was non-communicating or following failed medical therapy if the hydrocephalus was communicating. Following this protocol only 65 of 217 (29.9%) patients eventually required VPS. Non-communicating hydrocephalus was present in 38 of 65 (58.5%) and communicating hydrocephalus in 27 of 65 (41.5%) of the shunted cases. These 65 cases were followed for 6 months and their outcome assessed. Good outcome or moderate disability was seen in 55.4% and 12.3% died. Different factors relating to outcome are discussed. The shunted patients in this study had a high complication rate of 32.3%, with shunt infection and shunt obstruction each occurring in 9 of 65 (13.5%) of cases. TBM complicated by hydrocephalus remains a devastating condition and VPS in these patients has a high complication rate. Identifying those patients who may be managed without shunting will save costs and reduce complications, however early VPS in patients with non-communicating hydrocephalus is still indicated.

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