Hydrocephalus is one of the main complications of brain tumors in children, being present in about 50% of cases at the time of the tumor diagnosis and persisting up to 10-40% of cases after surgical resection. This is a single-institution retrospective study on the variables that may predict the need for treatment of persistent hydrocephalus in pediatric patients presenting with a brain tumor.
Retrospective case note review of 43 newly diagnosed brain tumors in children referred between April 2012 and January 2018 to our regional pediatric neuro-oncology service was carried out. Diagnosis of hydrocephalus was carried out using both preoperative and postoperative MRI to determine Evans’ index (EI) and the fronto-occipital horn ratio (FOHR) from each scan. Simple logistic regression was used to analyze categorical variables as appropriate. A p value <0.05 was considered significant.
Forty-three children were analyzed, 26 males and 17 females with a median age at diagnosis 10.4 years (IQR: 5.2-13.5). Hydrocephalus was present in 22/43 children (51%) preoperatively; in 8/22 children (36%) with hydrocephalus undergoing tumor resection, hydrocephalus persisted also in the postoperative period. An EI >0.34 (p = 0.028) and an FOHR >0.46 (p = 0.05) before surgery were associated with a higher prevalence of persistent hydrocephalus and therefore to the need for a cerebrospinal fluid drain device in the postoperative phase.
Preoperative identification of children at risk for developing persistent hydrocephalus would avoid delays in planning the permanent cerebrospinal fluid drain devices. This study finds that an EI >0.34 and an FOHR >0.46 at diagnosis could impact on the therapeutic management of children with hydrocephalus associated with brain tumors. Prospective and larger-scale studies are needed to standardize this approach.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.