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Variability in neurosurgical management and associated comorbidities and complications among preterm patients with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in the United States

J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2023 Mar 10:1-8. doi: 10.3171/2023.1.PEDS22461. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH) remains a major morbidity of premature birth resulting from intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). National consensus guidelines for the timing of surgical interventions are lacking, which leads to considerable variations in management among neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Early intervention (EI) has been shown to improve outcomes, but the authors hypothesized that the timing from IVH to intervention affects the comorbidities and complications associated with PHH management. The authors used a large national inpatient care data set to characterize comorbidities and complications associated with PHH management in premature infants.

METHODS: The authors used hospital discharge data from the 2006-2019 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) to conduct a retrospective cohort study of premature pediatric patients (weight < 1500 g) with PHH. The predictor variable was the timing of the PHH intervention (EI ≤ 28 days vs late intervention [LI] > 28 days). Hospital stay data included hospital region, gestational age, birth weight (BW), length of stay (LOS), PHH treatment procedures, comorbidities, surgical complications, and death. Statistical analysis included chi-square and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, Cox proportional hazards regression, logistic regression, and a generalized linear model with Poisson and gamma distributions. Analysis was adjusted for demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and death.

RESULTS: Of the 1853 patients diagnosed with PHH, 488 (26%) had documented timing of surgical interventions during their hospital stay. More patients had LI than EI (75%). The patients in the LI group of patients had younger gestational age and lower BW. There were significant regional differences in the timing of treatment: hospitals in the West performed EI, whereas hospitals in the South performed LI, even after adjustment for gestational age and BW. The LI group was associated with longer median LOS and more total hospital charges compared with the EI group. More temporary CSF diversion procedures occurred in the EI group, whereas more permanent CSF-diverting shunts were placed in the LI group. Shunt/device replacement and complications did not differ between the two groups. The LI group had 2.5-fold higher odds of sepsis (p < 0.001) and almost 2-fold higher odds of retinopathy of prematurity (p < 0.05) than the EI group.

CONCLUSIONS: The timing of PHH interventions differs by region in the United States, whereas the association of potential benefits with treatment timing suggests the importance of national consensus guidelines. Development of these guidelines can be informed by data regarding treatment timing and patient outcomes available in large national data sets, which provide insights into comorbidities and complications of PHH interventions.

PMID:36905669 | DOI:10.3171/2023.1.PEDS22461

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