Trend of Death in Pediatric Ventriculo-Peritoneal Shunts in the United States

Kimberly H. Nguyen, Hailey B. Gaskamp, Michael E. Walston, Regina Zamacona, Jared Alexander Stowers, Ali Seifi


Background: Ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPS) have been used to treat hydrocephalus for many years. This procedure has saved many lives, but it does not come without its complications. Considering the invasiveness of the procedure, we sought to investigate the mortality rate of VPS in children in the USA.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study used the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database to examine patients from the ages of 0 - 17 years who underwent the procedures involving the insertion, replacement, or removal of VPS from 1997 to 2012. Z-test was used to analyze the statistical significance.

Results: During the study period, we recorded a total number of 165,484 cases of VPS with 54.5% occurring in males. The mean age was 5.25 years old, and the average mortality rate was 1.03%. The annual number of patients receiving VPS at all institutions during the study period decreased significantly from 13,075 in 1997 to 8,499 in 2012 (P = 0.001). The rate of patients receiving VPS per 100,000 discharges at all institutions during the study period also decreased significantly from 18.4 in 1997 to 11.5 in 2012 (P = 0.0001). The number of in-hospital deaths significantly decreased from 150 in 1997 to 50 in 2012 (P = 0.001), and the main decrease in the mortality happened after 2009 (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Utilization of pediatric VPS decreased in the USA between 1997 and 2012, and the number of in-hospital deaths significantly decreased as well. This may be related to better healthcare services in recent years, especially with more emphasis on the inpatient quality indicators (IQIs). Future research should determine the cause of the significant decrease and use the information to continue bringing the mortality rate down.

J Neurol Res. 2020;10(3):69-72 


Ventriculoperitoneal shunts; Hydrocephalus; Pediatric

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